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p# is a protein of molecular weight # kilo Daltons. Cells that use DNA to replicate are relatively stable and do not mutate readily because the double strand DNA carries its own error-correcting mechanisms.
The gp120 connected to the gp41 stem is collectively called gp160 and it is this protein, together with other coreceptors, that must connect to the CD4 receptor of T cells. But, retroviruses go backward and they can mutate easily.
A meeting to settle this issue was sponsored by the British Royal Society and is reported in a Medscape article written by Jonathan Weber available at (about which much less is known).
There are also retroviral infections of animals, e.g., SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus) infects nonhuman primates, FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) affects cats, and visna virus infects sheep.
Several naysayers have claimed that HIV-disease originated or was extended by the purported use of African green monkey kidneys to cultivate Kaprowsky's CHAT polio virus vaccine in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The author Edward Hooper raised these issues in his book The River published in 1999.
Samples held at the Wistar Institute have been analyzed and no trace of HIV or SIV was present.
Whether or not HIV was extended by the immunization program remains to be conclusively decided.
They also analyzed blood samples of nearly 400 monkeys and baboons to assess the degree to which their antibodies bind to HIV.
All retroviruses contain the genes gag (codes for internal structural proteins and capsid proteins using about 2000 base pairs), pol (codes for the three enzymes necessary for replication using about 2900 bp), and env (codes for the surface proteins gp120 and gp41 that protrude from the lipid envelope and attach to cellular receptors using about 1800 bp).
Other genes within HIV are tat (The term gp# stands for glycoprotein of molecular weight # kilo Daltons.
It is claimed that reverse transcriptase, which governs this reaction, introduces a mutation an average of once in every 500010,000 nucleotides; that's one or two per replication cycle for HIV.
Successive generations of viral progeny occur, on average, every 2.6 days; that's an average of 140 generations per year.