Why are RNA virus mutation rates so damn high?

PLoS Biol. 2018 Aug 13;16(8):e3000003. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000003. eCollection 2018 Aug.


The high mutation rate of RNA viruses is credited with their evolvability and virulence. This Primer, however, discusses recent evidence that this is, in part, a byproduct of selection for faster genomic replication.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Mutation Rate*
  • RNA Viruses*
  • Virulence
  • Virus Replication

Grant support

SD was funded by the US National Science Foundation 1453241. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.