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J Virol. Sep 1988; 62(9): 3084–3091.
PMCID: PMC253424
Determination of the mutation rate of a retrovirus.
J M Leider, P Palese, and F I Smith
Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029.
The mutation rate of Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) was measured. Progeny descended from a single virion were collected after one replication cycle, and seven regions of the genome were analyzed for mutations by denaturing-gradient gel electrophoresis. In all, 65,250 nucleotides were screened, yielding nine mutations, and the RSV mutation rate was calculated as 1.4 x 10(-4) mutations per nucleotide per replication cycle. These results indicate that RSV is an extremely mutable virus. We speculate that the mutation rate of a virus may correlate inversely with the effectiveness of vaccination against a given virus and suggest that prevention of retrovirus-mediated disease via vaccination may prove difficult.
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