The frequency of chromosome damage was studied in the carriers of virus of the hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (Puumala virus) and in noninfected animals from two laboratory colonies and two natural populations of bank vole. In the laboratory colony, where Puumala virus persisted for three years, multiaberrant (“rogue”) cells were found in the bone marrow; the mean frequencies of both structural and numeral chromosome abnormalities were significantly enhanced. In the other laboratory colony, no Puumala virus was detected during all 30 years of its existence, but the mean frequencies of structural chromosome damage were increased to the same degree probably due to the prolonged breeding under laboratory conditions, which resulted in suppression of immunity and DNA repair. The voles from the natural populations were more resistant to the clastogenic viral effect, but they also had multiaberrant cells which served as indicators of viral infection. The data obtained support the hypothesis that viral infections increase mutation rate, contributing thereby to the evolution process.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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