An RNA virus (a virus composed not of DNA but of RNA). Retroviruses have an enzyme called reverse transcriptase that gives them the unique property of transcribing RNA (their RNA) into DNA. The retroviral DNA can then integrate into the chromosomal DNA of the host cell to be expressed there. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS, is a retrovirus.
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Any virus of the family Retroviridae.Retroviruses are potent disease agents, but they have also served as invaluable research tools in molecular biology. In 1979, the molecular biologist Richard Mulligan used a genetically altered r. to trigger the production of hemoglobin in vitro by monkey kidney cells. His technique for using retroviruses to import alien genes into cells has been widely adopted. Medical researchers have also explored retroviral transport as a means of gene therapy. However, evidence suggesting that retroviruses may play a role in carcinogenesis raises questions as to the safety of their use in gene therapy. See oncogene.

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ret·ro·vi·rus 're-trō-.vī-rəs n any of the family Retroviridae of single-stranded RNA viruses called also RNA tumor virus
ret·ro·vi·ral -rəl adj
ret·ro·vi·ral·ly adv

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an RNA-containing virus that can convert its genetic material into DNA by means of the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which enables it to become integrated into the DNA of its host's cells. Retroviruses have been implicated in the development of some cancers and are associated with conditions characterized by an impaired immune system (HIV is a retrovirus). They are also used as vector in gene therapy.

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ret·ro·vi·rus (retґro-vi″rəs) any virus of the family Retroviridae. retroviral adj

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • RÉTROVIRUS — Les rétrovirus sont des virus globulaires enveloppés, d’un diamètre de 110 à 125 nanomètres, très répandus dans le monde animal. Ils sont la cause de différentes formes de cancer, d’immunodéficiences, dont le sida, et de dégénérescences du… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Retrovirus — m. Biol., Med. Virus de ácido ribonucleico que posee una enzima que le permite convertir su material genético en ácido desoxirribonucleico cuando ha penetrado en una célula viva. Al grupo de los retrovirus pertenece el virus del sida. * * *… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • retrovirus — m. microb. Virus de simetría cúbica, dotado de RNA y de transcriptasa inversa (responsable de transcribir el genoma RNA en DNA) que es capaz de insertar su material genético en el genoma de las células infectadas. De los diversos retrovirus… …   Diccionario médico

  • retrovirus — 1977, earlier retravirus (1974), from re(verse) tra(nscriptase) + VIRUS (Cf. virus). So called because it contains reverse transcriptase, an enzyme that uses RNA instead of DNA to encode genetic information, which reverses the usual pattern.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • retrovírus — s. m. 2 núm. [Biologia, Medicina] Vírus cujo genoma é constituído por ácido ribonucleico simples.   ‣ Etimologia: retro + vírus …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • retrovirus — m. Biol. Virus cuyo genoma está constituido por ARN que, por transcripción inversa, origina un ADN y lo incorpora a la célula huésped; p. ej., los virus de la leucemia, el sarcoma o el sida …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • retrovirus — [re′trō vī΄rəs] n. any of a family (Retroviridae) of RNA viruses which have a virion that makes REVERSE TRANSCRIPTASE, including the viruses that cause leukemia and AIDS …   English World dictionary

  • Retrovirus — Retroviridae Rétrovirus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rétrovirus — Retroviridae Rétrovirus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Retrovirus — Familie Retroviridae HI Virus (Grafik) Systematik Reich: Viren Ordnung: nicht klassifiziert …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Retrovirus — Taxobox | color = violet name = Retroviruses virus group = vi familia = Retroviridae subdivision ranks = Genera subdivision = Subfamily: Orthoretrovirinae : Alpharetrovirus : Betaretrovirus : Gammaretrovirus : Deltaretrovirus : Epsilonretrovirus …   Wikipedia

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