The Linial lab is interested in foamy viruses, a subfamily of retroviruses with an unusual replication pathway reminiscent of hepadnaviruses such as HBV. Foamy viruses (FV) are ancient retroviruses that have co-evolved with their primate hosts. They are very well adapted to their hosts and can achieve efficient transmission without pathogenic sequelae. Given the unique replication of these viruses, the Linial lab has been working to understand aspects of viral assembly, reverse transcription and RNA and Pol packaging. Foamy virus vectors are also being used for gene therapy applications and work in the Linial lab is aiding in development of better constructs. A new direction in the lab is a better understanding of the natural history of foamy virus infection in primates, as well as zoonotic infections in humans. About 2-3% of at-risk humans acquire life long foamy virus infections through bites by non-human primates, and perhaps other means. The Linial group has recently initiated studies of foamy virus infected non human primates (NHP) and people in S. Asia to better define the mechanism of zoonotic transmission, and to examine recombination of FV from different NHP species.