By Edward K Wagner; et al
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Reverse transcriptase is also found in cellular transposable genetic elements (retrotransposons), which are circular genetic elements that can move from one chromosomal location to another. Thus, the relationship between certain portions of the replication cycle of retroviruses and mechanisms of gene transposition and chromosome maintenance in cells are so intimately involved that it is impossible to say which occurred first. A major complication to a complete and satisfying scheme for the origin of viruses is that a large proportion of viral genes have no known cellular counterparts, and viruses themselves may be a source of much of the genetic variation seen between different free-living organisms.
The earliest defenses include expression of interferon and tissue inflammation. Ultimately the major component of this defense – adaptive immunity – comes into play. For disease to occur, the defenses must lag as the virus multiplies to high levels. At the same time, the virus invades favored sites of replication. Infection of these favored sites is often a major factor in the occurrence of disease symptoms and is often critical for the transmission to other organisms. As the host defenses mount, virus replication declines and there is recovery – perhaps with lasting damage and usually with immunity to a repeat infection.
Two undergraduates were invaluable to us. A. Azarian at University of California, Irvine made many useful suggestions on reading the manuscript from a student’s perspective, and D. Natan, an MIT student who spent a summer in Edward Wagner’s laboratory, did most of the Internet site searching, which was a great relief and time saver. Finally, J. Wagner carried out the very difficult task of copyediting the manuscript. A number of people at Blackwell Publishing represented by Publisher N. Hill-Whilton demonstrated a commitment to a quality product.