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'Defective' virus surprisingly plays major role in spread of disease, UCLA life scientists report

Defective viruses, thought for decades to be essentially garbage unrelated to the transmission of normal viruses, now appear able to play an important role in the spread of disease, new research by UCLA life scientists indicates.

Defective viruses have genetic mutations or deletions that eliminate their essential viral functions. They have been observed for many human pathogens and are generated frequently for viruses that have high mutation rates. However, for some 40 years, it was believed that they were unimportant in natural settings.
 
 

Comments (1)

  1. Wow good find. I would have missed this paper. I have always enjoyed reading about virus 'swarms', or how divergent genotypes emerge from, presumably a single genotype. Plant virologists are way ahead of animal virologists in this field, and would be interesting to see them compared. Anyways, cool find, and check out my related post about influenza swarms!

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