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Is a herpesvirus a retrovirus ?
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With great interest I read your article, which adresses the important question on the role of contaminating sequences in reference genomes. However, in this paragraph I see two points that need clarification. First, Bovine Herpesvirus 6 (also termed bovine lymphotropic herpesvirus) has not yet been associated with disease in cattle. Instead it has been identified in blood samples of a high proportion of asymptomatic cattle (for reference see Rovnak J, et al., J Virol. 1998 May;72(5):4237-42). Second, Bovine herpesvirus 6 belongs to the family herpesviridae, and not to the family retroviridae. The latter show a mechanism of host genome integration using a virus encodes reverse transcriptase. This is not the case for herpesviruses, although host genome integration has been assumed to occur in some herpesviruses by a still unknown mechanism. Clearly, designating Bovine herpesvirus 6 a retrovirus is misleading.

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Torsten Seuberlich's point is correct: we erroneously called bovine herpesvirus 6 a retrovirus, but it is not. We should have instead pointed out that some herpesviruses, notably human herpesvirus 6, have been known to integrate into the host genome, although these events are uncommon. Thus it was possible that the bovine herpesvirus had integrated into Bos taurus, but we were mistaken to call it a retrovirus.

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