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Viruses 2011, 3(9), 1650-1680; doi:10.3390/v3091650

Mechanisms and Factors that Influence High Frequency Retroviral Recombination

1 Viral Mutation Section, HIV Drug Resistance Program, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA 2 Viral Recombination Section, HIV Drug Resistance Program, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA 3 Copenhagen Hepatitis C Program, Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre 2650, Denmark 4 Department of Epidemic Diseases, Rigshospitalet, KĂžbenhavn 2100, Denmark
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 June 2011 / Revised: 18 August 2011 / Accepted: 25 August 2011 / Published: 9 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recombination in Viruses)
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With constantly changing environmental selection pressures, retroviruses rely upon recombination to reassort polymorphisms in their genomes and increase genetic diversity, which improves the chances for the survival of their population. Recombination occurs during DNA synthesis, whereby reverse transcriptase undergoes template switching events between the two copackaged RNAs, resulting in a viral recombinant with portions of the genetic information from each parental RNA. This review summarizes our current understanding of the factors and mechanisms influencing retroviral recombination, fidelity of the recombination process, and evaluates the subsequent viral diversity and fitness of the progeny recombinant. Specifically, the high mutation rates and high recombination frequencies of HIV-1 will be analyzed for their roles in influencing HIV-1 global diversity, as well as HIV-1 diagnosis, drug treatment, and vaccine development.
Keywords: recombination; retrovirus; HIV-1 recombination; retrovirus; HIV-1
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Delviks-Frankenberry, K.; Galli, A.; Nikolaitchik, O.; Mens, H.; Pathak, V.K.; Hu, W.-S. Mechanisms and Factors that Influence High Frequency Retroviral Recombination. Viruses 2011, 3, 1650-1680.

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