Etymology
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retrovirus (n.)

1977, earlier retravirus (1974), from re(verse) tra(nscriptase) + connective -o- + virus. So called because it contains reverse transcriptase, an enzyme that uses RNA instead of DNA to encode genetic information, which reverses the usual pattern. Remodeled by influence of retro- "backwards."

updated on July 30, 2021

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Definitions of retrovirus from WordNet

retrovirus (n.)
any of a group of viruses that contain two single-strand linear RNA molecules per virion and reverse transcriptase (RNA to DNA); the virus transcribes its RNA into a cDNA provirus that is then incorporated into the host cell;
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.