What’s the host and what’s the microbe?

Weiss, R. (2015) What’s the host and what’s the microbe? The Marjory Stephenson Prize Lecture 2015. Journal of General Virology, 03 July, 2015 doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000220
The interchange between retroviruses and their hosts is an intimate one because retroviruses integrate proviral DNA into host chromosomal DNA as an obligate step in the replication cycle. This has resulted in the occasional transduction of host genes into retroviral genomes as oncogenes, and also led to the integration of viral genomes into the host germ line that gives rise to endogenous retroviruses. I shall reflect on the evolutionary consequences of these events for virus and host. Then I shall discuss the emergence of non-viral infections of host origin, namely, how malignant cells can give rise to eukaryotic single cell ‘parasites’ that colonize new hosts, and how these in turn have been colonized by host mitochondria.

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