Evolutionary relatedness of viper and primate endogenous retroviruses

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Science  20 Apr 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4390, pp. 318-321
DOI: 10.1126/science.219480


A retrovirus previously isolated from a tumored Russell's viper is shown by molecular hybridization to be an endogenous virus of this reptilian species. Radio-immunologic techniques revealed that the viper retrovirus is immunologically and, hence, evolutionarily related to endogenous type D retorviruses of Old World primates. These findings extend the number of vertebrate classes possessing endogenous retroviruses and suggest that type D retroviruses may even be more widely distributed in nature than type C retroviruses.