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Components of the viral genome

Viral genomes are either made of DNA or RNA, and can be single-stranded or double-stranded.

The genomes can also be linear, circular or segmented (in several parts).

Single stranded RNA genomes are classified as positive or negative.

  • Positive strands are translated directly into proteins.
  • Negative strands cannot be translated directly. A positive strand must be created through replication of the RNA before proteins can be synthesised.

The type of genome possessed by the virus influences its method of replication within a host cell.

Influenza virus with a segmented RNA genome
Influenza virus with a segmented RNA genome