Virus mutators (mutant alleles that confer a higher mutant-frequency phenotype than that of the wild type) and antimutators (mutant alleles that confer a lower mutant-frequency phenotype) were discovered in bacteriophage T4 over three decades ago, but there is only limited detailed knowledge about such genetic variants in viruses that infect humans and threaten public health. The creation of mutators and antimutators during the course of viral infection (particularly in the case of RNA viruses) could play a pivotal role in virus evolution, pathogenesis and emergence, and could also frustrate antiviral therapy. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Because of reference limitations, we regret not being able to cite all of our colleagues who have contributed to the literature discussed in this review. L.M.M. is supported by the Public Health Service (GM56615), the American Cancer Society (RPG0027801), and the Ohio Cancer Research Associates.