Arch Virol 146/11 (2001) Virology Division News Classifying reverse transcribing elements: a proposal and a challenge to the ICTV R. Hull John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, U.K. The replication of most nucleic acids is either from DNA to DNA (chromosomal and viral nucleic acids) or from RNA to RNA (viruses and some cytoplasmic nucleic acids). However, an increasing number of nucleic acids are being found whose replication involves reverse transcription of RNA to produce DNA. This replication is driven by the enzyme reverse transcriptase (RT), which was first recognised over 30 years ago [1, 21]. Nucleic acids that replicate by reverse transcription are termed retroelements [10, 20] and this form of replication is employed by elements in higher plants, higher animals, fungi, insects and bacteria. Retroelements have been grouped into viral retroelements, eukaryotic chromo- somal non-viral retroelements and bacterial chromosomal retroelements (Table 1) . Retrotransposons are also known as LTR (long terminal repeat) retrotransposons and retroposons as non-LTR or poly (A) retrotransposons. There are various and separate classification systems for the viral and non-viral elements but, as these elements have many features in common, a universal classification for all retroelements should be considered. Viral retroelements have
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 1, 2001
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