Virology Division News 209 Arch Virol 144/1 (1999) Virology Division News VDN Classification of reverse transcribing elements: a discussion document R. Hull John Innes Centre, Colney, Norwich, U.K. The replication of most nucleic acids is either DNA > DNA (chromosomal and viral nucleic acids) or RNA > RNA (viruses and some cytoplasmic nucleic acids). However, an increas- ing number of nucleic acids are being found whose replication involves reverse transcrip- tion of RNA to DNA. This replication uses the enzyme reverse transcriptase (RT) which was first recognised nearly 30 years ago [1, 19]. Nucleic acids which replicate by reverse transcription are termed retroelements [9, 18] and this form of replication is found for elements in higher plants and animals, fungi, insects and bacteria. Retroelements have been grouped into viral retroelements, eukaryotic chromosomal non-viral retroelements and bacterial chromosomal retroelements (Table 1) (see ). Retrotransposons are also known as LTR (long terminal repeat) retrotransposons and retroposons as non-LTR or poly(A) retrotransposons. There are various separate classification systems for the viral and non- viral elements but, as these elements have many features in common, a universal classifica- tion for all retroelements should be considered. Viral retroelements have been formally classified by the
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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