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In that its incorporation to the host genome is still present, Koala retrovirus is the most common amongst endogenous retroviruses in that it is embedded in the host genome, providing the opportunity to investigate what drives this fundamental process of vertebrate genome evolution, it is also present. Animals in the southern portion of the innate range of koalas were previously thought to be either virus-free or to have only exogenous KoRV variants with low incidences of KoRV-induced disease. We show that koalas that tested negative for the KoRV pol gene qPCR, which is used to identify replication-able KoRV, are not KoRV free, but rather fail to harbour defective, presumably endogenous, "RecKoRV" variants that are not fixed between animals. To shield the wild koala population from KoRV-induced disease, this second explanation would lead to the intriguing possibility of being able to track and selectively breed for disease resistance to shield the wild koala population.
Source link: https://doi.org/10.1101/211466
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