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Virology. 2000 May 10;270(2):251-3.

Viruses at the edge of adaptation.

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Centro de Biología Molecular "Severo Ochoa,", (CSIC-UAM) Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, Madrid, 28049, Spain.


How vulnerable is the line that separates adaptation from extinction? Viruses, in particular RNA viruses, are well known for their high rates of genetic variation and their potential to adapt to environmental modifications (Drake and Holland, 1999; Domingo et al., 2000). Yet, fitness variations-both increases and decreases-can be spectacularly rapid, and the simple genetic stratagem of forcing virus multiplication to go through repeated genetic bottlenecks can induce fitness losses, at times near viral extinction. New information has been recently obtained on the two sides of the survival line: the edge of adaptation and the edge of extinction.

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