Introduction. Negative-strand RNA viruses are a large and diverse group of enveloped viruses of both medical and economic significance. They are found in hosts from the plant and animal kingdoms, and have a wide range of morphologies, biological properties and genome organizations. A major distinction is made between viruses whose genome consists of a single RNA molecule (order ), including the families and , and those possessing multipartite (segmented) genomes, comprising the families (six to nine segments), (three segments) and (two segments) (Pringle, 1991). Particular elements essential for their replication and gene expression have been retained throughout the negative-strand RNA viruses and illustrate that they have originated from a common ancestor (for review see Tordo , 1992). Genetic manipulation and analysis of negative-strand RNA virus biology has lagged far behind that of other RNA viruses.


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