Evidence of genetic recombination in foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), a small RNA-containing virus, has been found both in crosses of mutants of the same strain (Pringle, 1968; Pringle 1970), and in crosses of serologically related strains (Pringle, 1965; Pringle & Slade, 1970). In both cases the frequency of identifiable recombinants in the progeny was low. This is not unexpected because the genome of FMDV is small; the most recent estimates of the molecular weight of FMDV RNA are given as 2.8 × 10 (Wild & Brown, 1970) and 4 × 10 (Ohlbaum 1970). The range of recombination frequencies observed between different temperature-sensitive() mutants of FMDV was similar in magnitude, however, to that obtained by Cooper (1968) with mutants of poliovirus, a virus in some respects comparable to FMDV. Other RNA viruses exhibit much higher frequencies of recombination (e.g. reovirus and influenza virus), but in these cases this can be attributed to the physical substructure of the genome, rather than to its absolute size.


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