Viruses use diverse strategies for their replication, related in part to the genome structure (double-stranded or single-stranded; positive sense or negative sense; RNA or DNA). During each round of replication, mutations are introduced in the viral genome and the mode of replication (stamping machine and geometric replication) may affect the population dynamics of the progeny virus. Our understanding of the relationships among genome strandedness, mode of replication and the population variation is still limited. Here we will review what is known about virus replication by stamping machine or geometric modes, and how that relates to the biology of single stranded versus double stranded RNA genomes. We will present how this may affect the mutation frequency and population dynamics. Finally the potential importance of the population dynamics in acute viruses and persistent viruses will be discussed.
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