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The more the merrier? Gene duplications in the coevolution of primate lentiviruses with their hosts.

Gene duplications are a major source of genetic diversity and evolutionary innovation. Newly formed, duplicated genes can provide a selection advantage in constantly changing environments. One such example is the arms race of HIV and related lentiviruses with innate immune responses of their hosts. In recent years, it has become clear that both sides have benefited from multiple gene duplications. For example, amplifications of antiretroviral factors such as apolipoprotein-B mRNA-editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide-3 (APOBEC3), interferon-induced transmembrane protein (IFITM), and tripartite motif-containing (TRIM) proteins have expanded the repertoire of cell-intrinsic defense mechanisms and increased the barriers to retroviral replication and cross-species transmission. Conversely, recent studies have also shed light on how duplications of accessory lentiviral genes and Long terminal repeat (LTR) elements can provide a selection advantage in the coevolution with antiviral host proteins.

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