The human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-1) is a human retrovirus that is known to cause a type of cancer, referred to as adult T-cell leukemia and lymphoma, and a demyelinating disease called HTLV-I associated myelopathy/Tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). HTLV-I is one of a group of closely related primate T lymphotropic viruses (PTLVs). Members of this family that infect humans are called Human T-lymphotropic viruses, and the ones that infect old world monkeys are called Simian T-lymphotropic viruses (STLVs). To date, four types of HTLVs (HTLV-I, HTLV-II, HTLV-III, and HTLV-IV) and four types of STLVs (STLV-I, STLV-II, STLV-III, and STLV-V) have been identified. The HTLVs are believed to originate from intraspecies transmission of STLVs. The original name for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was HTLV-III; this term is no longer in use . The HTLV-1 genome is diploid, composed of two copies of a single-stranded RNA virus whose genome is copied into a double-stranded DNA form that integrates into the host cell genome, at which point the virus is referred to as a provirus. A closely related virus is bovine leukemia virus BLV.
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