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Viruses 2011, 3(6), 858-860;

Cell Transformation by RNA Viruses: An Overview

Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Cancer Research Institute, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
Received: 8 June 2011 / Accepted: 14 June 2011 / Published: 15 June 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Transformation by RNA Viruses)
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Note: In lieu of an abstract, this is an excerpt from the first page.


Studies of oncogenic viruses have made seminal contributions to the molecular biology of cancer. Key discoveries include the identification of viral oncogenes and cellular proto-oncogenes, elucidation of signal transduction pathways, and identification of tumor suppressor genes. The origins of cancer virology began almost exactly one hundred years ago with the discovery of avian sarcoma and acute leukemia viruses—RNA-containing viruses of the retrovirus family. The study of animal cancer viruses accelerated beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the discovery of DNA viruses that could transform cells in culture, and the development of quantitative assays for transformation by DNA and RNA-containing tumor viruses. The discovery of reverse transcriptase in retroviruses in 1970 also greatly accelerated research on these viruses. Indeed RNA and DNA tumor viruses led the way in cancer molecular biology during this era before molecular cloning. It was possible to physically purify virus particles and generate specific hybridization probes for viral DNA and RNA at a time when it was not possible to analyze cellular genes in the same manner. [...]
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Fan, H. Cell Transformation by RNA Viruses: An Overview. Viruses 2011, 3, 858-860.

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