ret·​ro·​vi·​rus | \ ˈre-trō-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce retrovirus (audio) \

Definition of retrovirus

: any of a family (Retroviridae) of single-stranded RNA viruses that produce reverse transcriptase by means of which DNA is produced using their RNA as a template and incorporated into the genome of infected cells, that are often tumorigenic, and that include the lentiviruses (such as the HIVs) and the causative agent of Rous sarcoma

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Other Words from retrovirus

retroviral \ ˈre-​trō-​ˌvī-​rəl How to pronounce retroviral (audio) \ adjective

Examples of retrovirus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One popular theory points to a class of viruses known as retroviruses, which can insert DNA into their host’s genome that is then passed from generation to generation. Quanta Magazine, "A Missing Genetic Link in Human Evolution," 2 Jan. 2014 VandeWoude studies lentiviruses — a type of retrovirus that includes HIV — in mountain lions and bobcats. Quanta Magazine, "Viruses Would Rather Jump to New Hosts Than Evolve With Them," 13 Sep. 2017 Researchers knew retroviruses—which transcribe their RNA genome into DNA and integrate it into a host cell's genome—existed in animals. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "Scientists are declaring war against a leukemia-causing virus that has infected millions," 23 May 2018 Feline leukemia, a usually fatal cancer caused by a retrovirus, spreads from cat to cat via saliva, when the animals lick, bite, or groom one another. Dr. Rob Sharp, Country Living, "Does my Indoor Cat Need Feline Leukemia Vaccine?," 28 June 2010 And in lab experiments, these porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs) tended to leap from pig to human cells. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "Pig Cells That Won’t Go Retro," 24 Jan. 2018 The team also led the development of retroviruses as vectors to deliver DNA for gene therapy. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "Famed cancer biologist allegedly sexually harassed women for decades," 26 Apr. 2018 Gandy cited research that identified high levels of retrovirus in the brains of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Melissa Healy,, "Surprising discovery about viruses and Alzheimer’s disease could open new avenues for treatment," 22 June 2018 Some overlapped with regions of the genome that seem to belong to retroviruses that invaded our ancestors’ genomes; others belong to other repetitive stretches, which are rarely translated into proteins. Cassandra Willyard, Scientific American, "New Human Gene Tally Reignites Debate," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retrovirus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of retrovirus

1975, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for retrovirus

New Latin

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Time Traveler for retrovirus

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The first known use of retrovirus was in 1975

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Cite this Entry

“Retrovirus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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ret·​ro·​vi·​rus | \ ˈre-trō-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce retrovirus (audio) \

Medical Definition of retrovirus

: any of the family Retroviridae of single-stranded RNA viruses

called also RNA tumor virus

Other Words from retrovirus

retroviral \ -​rəl How to pronounce retroviral (audio) \ adjective
retrovirally \ -​ē How to pronounce retrovirally (audio) \ adverb

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