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 retrovirus (audio) \ adjective

Examples of retrovirus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This uses a harmless virus, usually a retrovirus, that is modified to produce the same external envelope of carbohydrates and proteins as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Scientists to Wall Street: You don’t really understand how COVID vaccine tests work," 24 Aug. 2020 When Judy Mikovits co-authored a that linked the mysterious condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome to a retrovirus that came from mice, thousands of sick patients hoping for relief, behind her. Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, "The woman behind ‘Plandemic.' Her coronavirus conspiracy video was just banned from social media as false and harmful," 8 May 2020 Of course, the retrovirus doesn’t enter the host’s genome just one time. Quanta Magazine, "Killer Virus Is Invading Koala DNA," 4 Mar. 2015 Mikovits claimed in a retracted 2009 study that was published in the academic journal Science that chronic fatigue syndrome, known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), was caused by a retrovirus. NBC News, "As '#Plandemic' goes viral, those targeted by discredited scientist's crusade warn of 'dangerous' claims," 7 May 2020 In contrast, retroviruses, such as HIV, are RNA viruses that use an enzyme called reverse transcriptase, which creates DNA from an RNA blueprint. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "A Promising Antiviral Is Being Tested for the Coronavirus—but Results Are Not Yet Out," 28 Feb. 2020 These sequences, known as porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs), have been shown to produce potentially infectious viral particles, though their risk to humans is unclear. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Eyeing organs for human transplants, companies unveil the most extensively gene-edited pigs yet," 19 Dec. 2019 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

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 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for retrovirus


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

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