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Virus Res. 2003 Jan;91(1):47-63.

Evolution of foot-and-mouth disease virus.

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


Foot-and-mouth disease virus evolution is strongly influenced by high mutation rates and a quasispecies dynamics. Mutant swarms are subjected to positive selection, negative selection and random drift of genomes. Adaptation is the result of selective amplification of subpopulations of genomes. The extent of adaptation to a given environment is quantified by a relative fitness value. Fitness values depend on the virus and its physical and biological environment. Generally, infections involving large population passages result in fitness gain and population bottlenecks lead to fitness loss. Very different types of mutations tend to accumulate in the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) genome depending on the virus population size during replication. Quasispecies dynamics predict higher probability of success of antiviral strategies based on multivalent vaccines and combination therapy, and this has been supported by clinical and veterinary practice. Quasispecies suggest also new antiviral strategies based on virus entry into error catastrophe, and such procedures are under investigation. Studies with FMDV have contributed to the understanding of quasispecies dynamics and some of its biological implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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