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The genetic stability of Ebola virus

Lyle Najita ijiwaru at nyc.pipeline.com
Sun Jul 30 13:10:03 EST 1995

In article <c601591-2907951459500001 at>, Don Haut writes: 
>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

It could as well be that not many mutations are tolerated.  In general RNA
pols tend to be more error prone because they lack the proof-reading
capabilities present in many DNA pols.  I would prefer to see the data on
filovirus RNA-dep. RNA pol error rate before passing judgement on its
>> 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 
just MHO, 

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