Viral Genetics and Evolution

Mutation 54

Genetic Recombination between Viruses 59

interactions between Viral Gene Products 61

Mapping Viral Genomes 62

Recombinant DNA Technology 64

Evolution of Viruses 66

Further Reading 72

Viruses have a greater genetic diversity than any other group of organisms (see Table 1-2). This diversity has been produced by natural selection acting on viral genomes that are continuously changing as a result of mutation, recombination, and reassortment.

Our knowledge of virus genetics was considerably expanded by the development during (he 1970s of molecular cloning and nucleotide sequencing methods and the use of monoclonal antibodies, followed in the mid-1980s by the introduction of the polymerase chain reaction. A new genetics has emerged in which the old concept of a one-to-one relationship between a gene and its gene product has been replaced by the realization that the same nucleotide sequence can be used more than once, as a result of a wide variety of previously unexpected biochemical phenomena, such as splicing of RNA transcripts and translation in different leading frames

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