Genetic Diversity and Evolution of Retroviruses

  • J. M. Coffin
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 176)


Retroviruses are one of the most widespread and probably the most biologically diverse group of infectious agents of vertebrates. Virtually all mammals—as well as some birds, reptiles, and fish—have yielded infectious retroviruses when examined sufficiently closely. Within a species, the viruses isolated can display considerable diversity of biological properties. For example, within the group of closely related murine leukemia viruses are found agents which differ in receptors used for infection; in mode of transmission for genetic (as endogenous germline proviruses) to horizontal and vertical (via milk or infection in utero); in pathogenicity from benign to highly virulent; and in disease spectrum from a variety of malignancies of varying latency to immunodeficiencies, anemias, neurological diseases, and others.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type Relative Growth Rate Murine Leukemia Virus Virus Population Rous Sarcoma Virus 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Coffin
    • 1
  1. 1.Tufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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