The rotavirus genome is composed of 11 gene segments of dsRNA. A recent breakthrough in the field of rotaviruses is the development of a reverse genetics system for generating recombinant rotaviruses possessing a gene segment derived from cloned cDNA. Although this approach is a helper virus-driven system that is technically limited and gives low levels of recombinant viruses, it allows alteration of the rotavirus genome, thus contributing to our understanding of these medically important viruses. So far, this approach has successfully been applied to three of the 11 viral segments in our laboratory and others, and the efficiency of recovery of recombinant viruses has been improved. However, we are still waiting for the development of a helper virus-free reverse genetics system for generating an infectious rotavirus entirely from cDNAs, as has been achieved for other members of the Reoviridae family.
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