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RNA Virus Genomes

  1. Esteban Domingo

Published Online: 15 DEC 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001488.pub2



How to Cite

Domingo, E. 2008. RNA Virus Genomes. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Centro de Biología Molecular “Severo Ochoa” (CSIC-UAM), Campus de Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2008


RNA (ribonucleic acid) viruses are the most abundant group of molecular parasites that infect humans, animals and plants. They are associated with important diseases such as human influenza, newly emerging haemorrhagic fevers or several forms of hepatitis. Virus particles are disparate in size, shape and composition, and enclose an RNA genome that can be either single-stranded, double-stranded, nonsegmented or segmented. The structural diversity of viral RNA is reflected in differences in their replication cycles that are completed through complex interactions between viral and host proteins. RNA viruses share error-prone replication that confers on them the capacity to adapt to a wide range or environments. Despite considerable progress in the understanding of virus structure and expression of their genetic programmes, the success of preventive and control strategies has been limited. Application of Darwinian principles to RNA viruses might result in new approaches for viral disease control.


  • RNA replication;
  • virus life cycle;
  • host function;
  • viral protein synthesis;
  • antiviral strategy;
  • control of viral disease