A selective replicative pressure occurs during the evolution of simian virus 40 variants. When the replication origin is duplicated as an inverted repeat, there is a dramatic enhancement of replication. Having regulatory sequences located between the inverted repeat of ori magnifies their enhancing effect on replication. A passage 20 variant and a passage 45 variant containing three pairs of an inverted repeat of ori replicated more efficiently than a passage 13 variant containing nine copies of ori arranged in tandem. A 69-base-pair cellular sequence inserted between inverted repeats of ori of both passage 40 and 45 variants enhanced simian virus 40 DNA replication. Differences in replication efficiencies became greater as the total number of replicating species was increased in the transfection mixture, under conditions where T antigen is limiting. In a competitive environment, sequences flanking the replication origin may be inhibitory to replication.
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