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HIV belongs to a devious group of viruses that don't simply hijack the cells machinery, but also insert their genes into those of the host cell. They do this using a molecule called reverse transcriptase. This takes the Viruses RNA and copies it into DNA. By inserting it's own genome into a Hosts DNA strand it can mess with the hosts genes and even trigger cancers.
Such Virus DNA can also be used as a biological clock, as we share remnants of such viruses in all our DNA, as well as our evolutionary cousins.
Original Source data:
Structure and functional implications of the polymerase active site region in a complex of HIV-1 RT with a double-stranded DNA template-primer and an antibody Fab fragment at 2.8 A resolution.
Ding, J., Das, K., Hsiou, Y., Sarafianos, S.G., Clark Jr., A.D., Jacobo-Molina, A., Tantillo, C., Hughes, S.H., Arnold, E.
Journal: (1998) J.Mol.Biol. 284: 1095-1111
The structure of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT) complexed with a 19-mer/18-mer double-stranded DNA template-primer (dsDNA) and the Fab fragment of monoclonal antibody 28 (Fab28) has been refined at 2.8 A resolution. The structures of the... [ Read More & Search PubMed Abstracts ]