Definition: the process of “evolutionary” changes in the molecular structure of DNA/RNA in microorganisms during their passage from one host to another; it may result from recombination, deletion, or insertion of genes, point mutations or combinations of these events; it leads to alteration (usually slow and progressive) in the antigenic composition, and therefore in the immunologic responses of individual people and populations to exposure to the microorganism concerned; common with influenzavirus.
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