The origins and ongoing evolution of viruses

Trends Microbiol. 2000 Nov;8(11):504-8. doi: 10.1016/s0966-842x(00)01863-1.


Genome analyses of double strand DNA tailed bacteriophages argue that they evolve by recombinational reassortment of genes and by the acquisition of novel genes as simple genetic elements termed morons. These processes suggest a model for early virus evolution, wherein viruses can be regarded less as having derived from cells and more as being partners in their mutual co-evolution.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophage lambda / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism


  • Viral Proteins