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The genetic stability of Ebola virus

Don Haut c601591 at mizzou1.missouri.edu
Sat Jul 29 14:50:14 EST 1995

In article <evans-2807951508000001 at ganymede.ahabs.wisc.edu>,
evans at ahabs.wisc.edu (PSE) wrote:

> Does it surprise anybody that an RNA virus that has been replicating in
> the wild for almost 20 years has accumulated very few variations at the
> nucleic acid level?  Sanchez et al do not comment about the resulting
> proteins, so many or all of these mutations may have been silent.  
> Is this the kind of variation that would be expected from an RNA virus
> over such a time period due to genetic drift (ie: neutral evolution")?  
> Is there any data about genetic drift in filoviruses, or other RNA
> viruses?

Given the replication strategy of filoviruses which is fairly simple (see
Feldman et al.) I am not surprised.  All of this data might imply that the
filovirus RNA dependant RNA Pol. is a very accurate Pol.  I think these
are really interesting questions and it will be fun to see what the answer
> Does the lack of genetic changes imply anything about Ebola's natural
> reservior?   

Possibly.  As Sanchez suggested, there may be extreme selective pressure
to maintain the Ebola Genome as it is.


Don Haut 
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
University of Missouri-Columbia
C601591 at showme.missouri.edu

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