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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course HIV: Structure and Replication (retired 2/20/2013). Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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HIV is a Retrovirus

  • In most cellular biochemistry, DNA is used as the template for the synthesis of RNA.
  • In HIV however, RNA is the template for the synthesis of DNA. That is why the enzyme is called reverse transcriptase.
  • Because of the enzyme's activity, HIV is known as a retrovirus - retro implying reverse.