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Science. 1982 Mar 26;215(4540):1577-85.

Rapid evolution of RNA genomes.


RNA viruses show high mutation frequencies partly because of a lack of the proofreading enzymes that assure fidelity of DNA replication. This high mutation frequency is coupled with high rates of replication reflected in rates of RNA genome evolution which can be more than a millionfold greater than the rates of the DNA chromosome evolution of their hosts. There are some disease implications for the DNA-based biosphere of this rapidly evolving RNA biosphere.

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