So viruses have either RNA or DNA, but can they contain both RNA and DNA at the same time?

m25

May 28, 2014
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So viruses have either RNA or DNA, but can they contain both RNA and DNA at the same time?
 
Sep 9, 2013
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No they will have one or the other. Since both are a means for replication, and viruses cant replicate, they will release their contents into another cell to replicate.
 

wuhsabee

BEARS. BEETS. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.
5+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2011
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Agree with @TheMightyTexan .

If you check out this picture of classification of viruses, and focus at the uppermost, dark green bars, you can see that classification of viruses are based on whether they have RNA / DNA. It's further split by whether they are single-stranded (ss), double-stranded (ds), and if they have reverse-transcriptase.

Reverse-transcriptase is an enzyme that viruses have that allow them to convert RNA --> DNA, aka. reverse transcription (DNA --> RNA) in the host cell. Perhaps that's what you were thinking of having RNA/DNA at the same time? But technically, before viruses enter host cells, they can have one or the other, not both.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a5/VirusBaltimoreClassification.svg/1280px-VirusBaltimoreClassification.svg.png
 
Last edited:
Mar 24, 2014
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Pre-Dental, Pre-Medical
No they can have dsRNA, ssRNA, ssDNA, or dsDNA. But viruses do replicate within the cell (@TheMightyTexan)...both lytic and lysogenic cycles end up with the virus hijacking the cellular machinery to replicate to the point where the cell lyses, or they release contents by exocytosis.