Cottontail Rabbit Papilloma Virus

The cottontail rabbit papilloma virus (CRPV), is a type I virus under the Baltimore scheme and posses a non-segmented dsDNA genome. It infects rabbits by causing keratinous carcinomas usually near the animal’s head. These tumors eventually interfere with the host’s ability to eat and can lead to starvation.

The virus provided the first mammalian model of a cancer caused by a virus. The name comes from Dr. Richard E. Shope, who discovered it in the 1930s. Shope isolated virus particles from tumors on captured animals and he used these to inoculate domestic rabbits. It was sequenced in 1984 which revealed similarities to HPV1a.

The virus also is a possible source of myths about the jackalope, a rabbit with antlers.

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