Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) RNA from both the and strains has been extracted as a single piece with a sedimentation constant of 65 to 70 (Robinson, Pitkanen & Rubin, 1965; Harel 1965). According to the relationship between sedimentation constant and molecular weight established for smaller single-stranded RNAs (Spirin, 1963), this value would correspond to a molecular size of about 10 daltons, and, therefore, to the entire RNA content of the mature virion (Crawford & Crawford, 1961). We have since obtained evidence that, unlike some other RNAs of cellular and viral origin, RSV-RNA can be dissociated irreversibly into smaller pieces of approximately equal size, by using dimethylsulphoxide, a solvent known for its ability to disrupt the secondary structure of RNAs (Katz & Penman, 1966; Kelly & Sinsheimer, 1967). A similar independent finding has been recently reported for the strain of RSV-RNA by Duesberg (1968).


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