Medical Definition of adeno–associated virus
: any of several single-stranded DNA viruses (genus Dependovirus of the family Parvoviridae) that enter the nucleus of a host cell but are dependent on coinfection with an adenovirus or herpesvirus for their replication, that infect a wide range of hosts but do not appear to cause disease, and that are used in gene therapy as vectors to introduce genes into cells Both groups also used as a vector a small adeno-associated virus that infects humans and other primates but is not known to cause disease. Its safety has been shown in various gene therapy experiments.—Thomas H. Maugh II, The Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 2008—abbreviation AAV
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