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Why negative strand RNA viruses?(was:none)

RYBICKI, ED ED at molbiol.uct.ac.za
Thu Oct 6 04:31:45 EST 1994

> From:          Ethan Strauss <IO00865 at MAINE.MAINE.EDU>
> In article <1994Oct5.001317.18360 at marlin.jcu.edu.au>, 
robert at chironex.jcu.edu.au
> >In article <36r760$u7 at hermod.uio.no> ohungnes at bioslave.uio.no 
(Olav Hungnes)
> >Is there any evidence that amongst the (+)-strand virions there 
are some
> >(-)-strand
> >containing particles also ? 
> I have actually done this experiment for Potato Virus X.
> To the limit of our ability to detect it (pretty small amounts)
> there is not - sense PVX packaged in with the + sense in the 

A simple answer for that COULD be that the encapsidation signals - 
especially for a filamentous virus like PVX - are wrong in the 
(-)-sense (mirror-image secondary structure), so that nothing would 
be encapsidated.

> About why - sense viruses exist I think that perhaps the best 
> is: Why not? Evolution just does whatever happens to work at the
> time, not what would be objectivly the "best".

Exactly...!!!  Life itself may well be an example of "what works, 
survives - however illogical".  Why should viruses be any different?

 | Ed Rybicki, PhD          |         Well, I tip my hat           |
 | (ed at micro.uct.ac.za)     |      To the new constitution         |
 | Dept Microbiology        | Take a bow for the new revolution... |
 | University of Cape Town  |  Then I get on my knees and pray     |
 | Private Bag, Rondebosch  |   We don't get get fooled again...   |
 | 7700, South Africa       |                                      |
 | fax: xx27-21-650 4023    |      - Pete Townshend, 1972          |
 | tel: xx27-21-650 3265    |      (Won't get fooled again)        |

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