Research Articles

Retroviral recombination and reverse transcription

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Science  30 Nov 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4985, pp. 1227-1233
DOI: 10.1126/science.1700865


Recombination occurs at a high rate in retroviral replication, and its observation requires a virion containing two different RNA molecules (heterodimeric particles). Analysis of retroviral recombinants formed after a single round of replication revealed that (i) the nonselected markers changed more frequently than expected from the rate of recombination of selected markers; (ii) the transfer of the initially synthesized minus strand strong stop DNA was either intramolecular or intermolecular; (iii) the transfer of the first synthesized plus strand strong stop DNA was always intramolecular; and (iv) there was a strong correlation between the type of transfer of the minus strand strong stop DNA and the number of template switches observed. These data suggest that retroviral recombination is ordered and occurs during the synthesis of both minus and plus strand DNA.

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