Virus evolutionVirus evolution
is a subfield of evolutionary biology
that is specifically concerned with the evolution
of viruses. Many viruses, in particular RNA viruses, have fairly high mutation rates (on the order of one point mutation or more per genome per round of replication in RNA viruses) and short generation times. As a consequence, many viruses can adapt to changes in their environment within months. Virus evolution is an important aspect of the epidemiology of viral diseases such as influenza
, and many others.
RNA viruses are also used as a model system to study evolution in the laboratory.