Nonquasispecies evidence for the evolution of rna viruses

Gareth M. Jenkins, Michael Worobey, Christopher H. Woelk, Edward C. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The quasispecies model of RNA virus evolution differs from those formulated in conventional population genetics in that neutral mutations do not lead to genetic drift of the population, and natural selection acts on the mutant distribution as a whole rather than on individual variants. By computer simulation, we show that this model could be inappropriate for many RNA viruses because the neutral sequence space may be too large to allow the formation of a quasispecies distribution. This view is supported by our analysis of gene sequences from vesicular stomatitis virus, which is considered a prototype RNA virus quasispecies. Our results are relevant to the evolution of RNA systems in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-994
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular biology and evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


  • Neutral evolution
  • Quasispecies
  • RNA viruses
  • Sequence space
  • Vesicular stomatitis virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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