Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Retroviridae

Family of icosahedral capsids, enveloped RNA viruses transcribed by viral reverse transcriptase into DNA proviruses capable of integration into the host cellular genome, which cause sarcomas and various other clinical manifestations in humans and many other animals, including immunodeficiency and/or leukemia. There are three subfamilies: spumaviruses (foamy agents found in cats, cattle and monkeys), oncornoviruses (oncogenic and leukemiacausing group), and lentiviruses (all with long latent periods, the agents of AIDS and some cancers).

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