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The genetic stability of Ebola virus

Steven Poet poets at ccmail.orst.edu
Wed Aug 2 13:29:15 EST 1995

I'm not sure how the similarities in genome sequence were determined,
but it was probably with PCR.  That would indicate that all the authors
could really state is that the small piece of amplified genome did not
change.  Examples of highly conserved sequences exist for almost all
viruses.  Maybe this is all that is going on. 

anon at ahabs.wisc.edu (anon) wrote:

> Evolutionary pressure as a result of the host immune system, or other
> antiviral defenses would affect the "transmission" of mutations that
> altered the amino acid sequence of Ebola-encoded proteins.  That is
> because these changes may bring about phenotypic changes (slower or faster
> growth in a host, escape from immune surveilance, etc).
> Mutations that don't change the primary structure of Ebola proteins
> ("silent" mutations, which can be found in coding or non-coding regions)
> are not expected to be selected by Darwinian evolution  because they do
> not result in phenotypical changes that can be selected (in most cases: 
> With ssRNA viruses, silent mutations may affect the secondary structure or
> the stability of the genome I guess). 
> Why do we see so few _total_ (silent and non-silent) changes between in
> Ebola 1995 and Ebola 1976...viruses separated in time and space.
> I agree with Don Haut that the filovirus RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase must
> be a very accurate enzyme because we see so few total mutations. 

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