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Evolution in Health and Disease$
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Stephen C. Stearns and Jacob C. Koella

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199207466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207466.001.0001

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Evolutionary origins of diversity in human viruses

Evolutionary origins of diversity in human viruses

(p.169) Chapter 13 Evolutionary origins of diversity in human viruses
Evolution in Health and Disease

Paul M. Sharp

Elizabeth Bailes

Louise V Wain

Oxford University Press

Our knowledge of the amount, pattern, and origins of genetic diversity varies enormously among human viruses. The four groups of viruses discussed in detail here (herpes viruses, AIDS viruses, influenza A viruses, and dengue viruses) exhibit varied patterns of diversity, with different factors important in each case. Rates of evolution vary by 5-6 orders of magnitude, from slowly evolving DNA viruses (herpes viruses), to rapidly evolving RNA viruses (AIDS and influenza A viruses). The timescales of diversification within a clade of human viruses vary by 4-5 orders of magnitude, from a few years for H3N2 influenza viruses, to perhaps 100,000 years or more for some herpes viruses. This depends on how long the viruses have been infecting humans, and whether the virus has been subject to random genetic drift, founder effects, selective sweeps of an advantageous variant, its route of transmission, and its interaction with the host immune system.

Keywords:   herpes, HIV, influenza, dengue, rates of evolution, origins, diversification

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