View your list of saved words. (You can log in using Facebook.)
An enzyme encoded from the genetic material of retroviruses. Following entry of a retrovirus into a host cell, reverse transcriptase catalyzes the transcription of the virus's RNA (ribonucleic acid) into DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). This reverse transcription enables the virus's genome to be inserted into the genome of the host cell, resulting in the production of more RNA virus from its DNA. Examples of retroviruses encoding reverse transcriptase include Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on reverse transcriptase, visit Britannica.com.