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Diploid Viruses?

Mark E. Brodsky markb at hook.eecs.nwu.edu
Sun Oct 23 18:35:52 EST 1994


In article <38dtp2INNecq at early-bird.think.com>,
Ian A. York <york at mbcrr.dfci.harvard.edu> wrote:
>In article <Cy24L5.H9t at eecs.nwu.edu> markb at hook.eecs.nwu.edu (Mark E. Brodsky) writes:
>>Recently, I was browsing a Virology WWW page, when I came across a
>>referance to "Diploid" viruses. It seemed to imply that these were not
>>diploid in the usual sense of the word, but the server did not
>>elaborate any more on the subject. Could someone please explain what
>>is meant by a diploid virus? Thank you.
>
>I'm not sure if this is what was meant, but herpes simplex virus (and 
>most of the other herpes viruses) are pseduodiploid for some of their 
>genes.  This is because their genome contains repeated regions which 
>encode a couple of genes: (ascii herpes simplex virus: not to scale)  
>
>
>  ____                                   ________                 __
> |____|---------------------------------|____|___|---------------|__|
> ^^^^^^ b                             k ^^^^^^^^^^               ^^^^
> gene a                                   a  ^^^^^               ^^^^
>                                               l   m           t   l 
>
>As this schematic is supposed to show, genes "a" and "l" are doploid, 
>while genes "b" to "k" and "m" to "t" are not.
>
Thank you. Others have written me saying that retroviruses have two
copies of their genome, such is the case with HIV for instance. Does
anyone know why this is? I thought viruses were supposed to be models
of efficiency. Aren't two copies of the same genome wasteful if the
organism doesn't reproduce sexually?
-- 
"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure
 you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Mark E. Brodsky					E-mail: mark-brodsky at nwu.edu
Northwestern University                         or  markb at casbah.acns.nwu.edu



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