The brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus frequently carries an endogenous virus, E. siliculosus virus (EsV-1), the genome of which is a circular, double-stranded DNA molecule of about 320 kbp. After infection, which occurs in the unicellular spores or gametes, the virus is present latently in all somatic cells of the host. Virus multiplication is restricted to cells of the reproductive organs. It has been an open question whether the latent viral DNA occurs as a free episome or becomes integrated into the host genome. PCR studies showed that viral DNA co-migrates with high molecular mass DNA in pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, which confirms that latent viral DNA is integrated into the host genome.


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