University of Missouri Research Board

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Defining “Retrovirus”

Although the word “virus” has become a part of the everyday vernacular, what exactly are retroviruses? Marc Johnson explains that they can be grouped into RNA viruses and DNA viruses. RNA viruses cause short-term diseases such as the flu and the common cold, whereas DNA viruses cause more long-term illnesses like herpes or cancer. “Retroviruses are a unique blend,” he explains. “They are like a DNA virus that can replicate with RNA strategies.” HIV is a retrovirus.

Researching Retrovirals

Marc Johnson
Assistant Professor, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
UM Columbia

By Tanya Sneddon