The genetic relationships among molecularly cloned prototype viruses representing all of the major oncovirus genera were investigated by molecular hybridization and nucleotide sequence analysis. One of the major progenitors of the pol genes of such viruses gives rise to mammalian type C viruses and another gives rise to type A, B, D, and avian type C oncoviruses. Evidence of unusual patterns of homology among the env genes of mammalian type C and D oncoviruses illustrates that genetic interactions between their progenitors contributed to the evolution of oncoviruses.

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