The ability to extinguish a viral population of fixed reproductive capacity by causing small changes in the mutation rate is referred to as lethal mutagenesis and is a corollary of population genetics theory. Here we show that coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) exhibits reduced mutational robustness relative to poliovirus, manifesting in enhanced sensitivity of CVB3 to lethal mutagens that is dependent on the size of the viral population. We suggest that mutational robustness may be a useful measure of the sensitivity of a virus to lethal mutagenesis.
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