Virus mutators and antimutators: roles in evolution, pathogenesis and emergence

Trends Genet. 2000 Nov;16(11):512-7. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(00)02125-9.


Virus mutators (mutant alleles that confer a higher mutant-frequency phenotype than that of the wild type) and antimutators (mutant alleles that confer a lower mutant-frequency phenotype) were discovered in bacteriophage T4 over three decades ago, but there is only limited detailed knowledge about such genetic variants in viruses that infect humans and threaten public health. The creation of mutators and antimutators during the course of viral infection (particularly in the case of RNA viruses) could play a pivotal role in virus evolution, pathogenesis and emergence, and could also frustrate antiviral therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Virus Physiological Phenomena*
  • Viruses / genetics*