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Annu Rev Genet. 2001;35:275-302.

Mechanisms of retroviral recombination.

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Unité de Regulation Enzymatique des Activités Cellulaires, FRE 2364-CNRS, Paris, France.


Recombination is a major source of genetic variability in retroviruses. Each viral particle contains two single-stranded genomic RNAs. Recombination mostly results from a switch in template between these two RNAs during reverse transcription. Here we emphasize the main mechanisms underlying recombination that are emerging from recent advances in biochemical and cell culture techniques. Increasing evidence supporting the involvement of RNA secondary structures now complements the predominant role classically attributed to enzyme pausing during reverse transcription. Finally, the implications of recombination on the dynamics of emergence of genomic aberrations in retroviruses are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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