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Pressurized viruses

TitlePressurized viruses
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsGelbart, WM, Knobler, CM
JournalScience
Volume323
Pagination1682–1683
Abstract

Unlike all living organisms, most viruses have genomes that consist of single-stranded (ss) RNA rather than double-stranded (ds) DNA. These ssRNA viruses replicate within hours and evolve faster than any organism; their genomes mutate rapidly because—unlike dsDNA— ssRNA replication does not involve proofreading corrections. However, the less common dsDNA viruses enjoy another unique feature: The pressures in them have been found to be as high as 50 atmospheres —more than 10 times the pressures found anywhere else in a living system. How do these high pressures arise, and what roles do they play in viral infectivity?

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