Faculty Advisor

Adams, David S.


HIV is a retrovirus with an unusually high rate of mutation, which facilitates its ability to evolve in the presence of anti-viral medication. The biggest problem that this creates in the treatment of HIV is the inability to diagnose a shift in the HIV genome before the rebound of drug resistant species. This project utilized pre-integration complexes know as 2-LTR circles to track the evolution of a particular mutation and determine if pre-rebound detection could be possible using this method. We found that 8 out of 12 patients showed mutant evolution in 2-LTR circles at about the same time as viral RNA samples. These are preliminary results and it is unclear whether closer time points would have revealed better results. Further research is being discussed.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2004



Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology