The Cure

Retrovirus: a primer

In this animation, we look at retroviruses and how they are being used by scientists to treat genetic disorders.

Last updated: 21 Jan 2014 12:52
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A retrovirus is a type of virus whose genetic material is carried in ribonucleic acid (RNA), instead of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). These viruses are unique in that they reproduce by transcribing themselves into DNA, which is then incorporated into the host cell.

Retroviruses are known to lead to certain types of cancers in both humans and animals, as well as a range of viral infections such as HIV.

Some viruses are now being manipulated by scientists to treat previously incurable genetic conditions such as haemophilia and severe combined immunodeficiency by inserting healthy genes into the human genome.


Watch  The Cure  on Tuesday: 2230; Wednesday: 0930; Thursday: 0330; Friday: 1630; Saturday: 2230; Sunday: 0930; Monday: 0330; Tuesday: 1630 GMT. 

Join the conversation on  Facebook  and on  Twitter


Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.
join our mailing list