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Genetic relationship of a primate RNA tumour virus genome to genes in normal mice

Naturevolume 256pages670672 (1975) | Download Citation



HUEBNER and Todaro1 and Temin2 proposed that the genomes of RNA tumour viruses originate from genes in DNA of normal cells. Subsequently, a class of RNA tumour viruses (endogenous or class 1 viruses) was discovered and shown by molecular hybridisation to contain RNA genetically related or identical to genes in normal cells3–8. Both the biological and hybridisation data leave little doubt that normal cells carry genes capable of giving rise to class 1 RNA tumour viruses (see refs 7 and 8 for reviews). A second class of RNA tumour viruses is more distantly related to cell genes (exogenous or class 2 viruses, see refs 7 and 8). Mouse and chicken class 2 viruses, however, are genetically related to class 1 viruses from the same species7–12 and the genome of one class 2 mouse RNA tumour virus (Rauscher leukaemia virus) consists primarily of RNA sequences that are related distantly to genes in normal mice but not to genes found in several other animals13. Indirect evidence has indicated that primate RNA tumour viruses and certain mouse RNA tumour viruses are unusually closely related10,11,14,15, suggesting that the viruses have a common origin, for example, in genes of mice. We report here that a primate RNA tumour virus isolated originally from a woolly monkey sarcoma and passaged in marmosets does contain a genome that by molecular hybridisation criteria is related to genes found in mice. The data further indicate that a small portion of the primate RNA tumour virus genome is related to genes of normal primates.

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  1. National Cancer Institute, Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology, Bethesda, Maryland, 20014

    • , R. C. GALLO
    •  & D. GILLESPIE


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