An infectious gibbon ape leukaemia virus is colonising a rodent’s genome in New Guinea

A research team catches a glimpes of a rare recent case of retrovirus integration. Retroviruses are viruses that multiply by incorporating their genes into the genome of a host cell. If the infected cell is a germ cell, the retrovirus can then be passed on to the next generation as an “endogenous” retrovirus (ERV) and spread as part of the host genome in that host species. In vertebrates, ERVs are ubiquitous and sometimes make up 10 per cent of the host genome. However, most retrovirus integrations are very old, already degraded and therefore inactive – their initial impact on host health has been minimised by millions of years of evolution.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft