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Can viruses change the DNA from a host?

bob xyzbbruner at uclink4.berkeley.edu
Mon Feb 16 04:10:19 EST 2004

On 9 Feb 2004 08:54:26 -0000, Laurens <lr1 at xs4all.nl> wrote:

>Hi all!
>In recent reports about the chicken viruses in the far east, I heard that 
>two viruses in one host cell may mutate into one new type of virus.
>Is this only possible if both viruses are already closely related, or could  
>mutating / combining also happen between e.g. the virus and it's host? 
>Would in such a case the new DNA survive in the host or would that cell die 
>I hope this is not a strange question (I'm not a biologist at all, just 
>very curious...)

It's not strange, but it is complex. It depends on the virus.

Flu virus is a type of virus that does not interact with the host
genome. However, it is somewhat unusual in how easily two different
flu viruses may interact with each other to produce new combinations.

Some viruses, however, do interact with the host genome. And this may
have effects on both the virus and the host. Such interactions were
much studied with the simple experimental systems of bacteria and
their viruses, but also occur with higher organisms.


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