It is often assumed that RNA viruses should have high mutation rates
resulting from viral RNA polymerases which lack proofreading. Two
questions concern me here; i) How do the apparent mutation rates of DNA
viruses compare to those of RNA viruses and ii) why do related viruses eg.
HIV-1 and HTLV-1 have such different mutation rates if polymerase error is
the only operating mechanism driving evolution of these viruses. Well,
while I'm at it here is a third query; using vesicular stomatitis virus as
a model it has been demonstrated that "a many-trillionfold amplification
of single RNA virus particles fails to overcome the Muller's ratchet
effect (Duarte et al (1993) J. Virol. 67:3620-3623) - Why not?
please post replies or email me directly,
mgoodin at nature.berkeley.edu