Difference Between Adenovirus and Retrovirus (With Table)

When it comes to the continued existence of humans, viruses are often viewed as the most severe threat. Viruses are a concern since they have been known to wipe out whole towns or populations. Several significant tragedies, such as the Black Plague or even the smallpox panic, should be remembered or heard about by most people. As a result of these disasters, hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and much of the world’s resources were destroyed. Large-scale disasters have impacted many families due to viruses. Many countries have been concerned about SARS since it was discovered recently.

Adenovirus vs Retrovirus

The main difference between Adenovirus and Retrovirus. On the other hand, retroviruses are viruses encased in an envelope. To put it another way: The adenovirus doesn’t have a protective coat, and an encapsulated retrovirus makes it more resistant to infection and more likely to cause illness.

Adenovirus is the most common non-enveloped virus. To be “capsid-less,” the genomic data within a virus must have a protein coating to shield it from the elements of the environment. This virus has two copies of its DNA, and this virus causes roughly 10% of all respiratory illnesses in children and adults.

An enveloped virus resembles a retrovirus in its structure. A protective protein coating makes it more resistant and more likely to cause disease in this scenario, as well. It’s an RNA virus that can infect and injure cells when it infects them.

Comparison Table Between Adenovirus and Retrovirus

Parameters of ComparisonAdenovirusRetrovirus
EnvelopeThere is no envelope in the case of the adenovirus.  The presence of an envelope characterizes retroviruses.  
DiameterAdenoviruses have a diameter of approximately 70-90 nm.  The diameter of a retrovirus ranges between 80 and 130 nanometers.  
PolymeraseIt is known that the adenovirus possesses negative virion polymerase.  It has been discovered that the retrovirus has positive virion polymerase.  
GenomeThe genome of the adenovirus is made up of DNA.  The retrovirus’s genome is made out of RNA.  
InfectionCells that are dividing and non-dividing can both be infected by the adenovirus at the same time.Only dividing cells are susceptible to infection by the retrovirus.  

What Is Adenovirus?

In contrast to viruses with an envelope, adenoviruses are members of the viral family. They are fundamental human illnesses, but some can also infect other animals. The principal species of the adenovirus group are Mastadenoviruses and Aviadenoviruses, which are both found in birds. Most adenovirus infects humans and other mammals, while Aviadenovirus infects birds. Most adenovirus is a virus that infects humans and other mammals.

The absence of a viral envelope distinguishes adenoviruses from other viruses in terms of structural characteristics. The genetic content of a protein is contained within its protein core. The icosahedral protein shell is 70–100 nm in size and is composed of 252 structural capsomere proteins, and it is made up of 252 capsomere structural proteins. Additionally, the minor polypeptide components that make up the icosahedral shell contain small proteins and significant polypeptide components.

Adenoviruses multiply or increase within the human cell when the virus’s genetic content introduces their genetic content. Adenoviral DNA is copied utilizing host transcription machinery to produce adenoviral mRNA, followed by the expression of the desired proteins when the genetic information has been successfully injected into a cell.

Finally, other viral particles are generated and released into the environment, allowing them to infect a wider variety of cell types. Respiratory and conjunctival problems are the most common complications of adenovirus infections. Adenovirus infections are detected using immunological and molecular biology testing since the virus is spread through airborne droplets.

What is Retrovirus?

Retroviruses fall within the retrovirus family when it comes to viruses that infect the human body. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the causative agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), is a widespread retrovirus that infects people all over the world (AIDS). Compared to adenovirus, this virus has a somewhat larger diameter than the former.

Virus genetic code is composed of a single strand of DNA that is positive. With the help of an enzyme known as reverse transcriptase, RNA is converted into complementary DNA (cDNA) for use in other processes. The cDNA derived from the genetic element contained within the host cell will be responsible for initiating the replication of the viral particles. Retroviruses are distinguished by a prominent envelope containing the particle gene, a capsid, and an inner core.

Human-to-human or animal-to-animal transmission of retroviruses is possible through close physical contact and verbal exchanges. It’s important to know that retroviruses are divided into three families: Onco, Lenti and Spumaviruses. Oncoviruses are viruses that cause malignant tumours to develop in the body. In contrast to Lentiviruses, which are viruses that cause fatal infectious infections, Spumaviruses are so named because of the prominent spikes that radiate from the virus’ envelope.

Main Differences Between Adenovirus and Retrovirus

  1. This category of DNA viruses is known as adenovirus and is responsible for most respiratory illnesses. In contrast, retrovirus refers to RNA viruses that enter the host cell and multiply by inserting their genomic copy.
  2. In contrast to retrovirus genomes, adenovirus genomes have single-stranded RNA, whereas retrovirus genomes include double-stranded DNA
  3. Adenovirus is a bare virus, meaning it does not have an envelope, whereas retrovirus has an envelope and may replicate.
  4. With an estimated diameter of 70-90nm, adenovirus is somewhat smaller in size than a retrovirus, which has an approximate diameter of 80-130 nm. Adenovirus is slightly smaller than retrovirus, with 70-90nm diameter.
  5. In contrast to retroviruses, which can only infect live cells, adenoviruses can simultaneously infect both dividing and non-dividing cells.


As infectious particles that attack specific hosts, viruses are obligatory parasites in the scientific literature. Viruses can be categorized as either adenoviruses or retroviruses, depending on whether or not they have an envelope surrounding them. While a retrovirus is a virus group that contains an envelope, adenoviruses are a virus species that do not include an envelope.

Single-stranded RNA is the genome of adenoviruses, whereas double-stranded DNA is the genome of retroviruses, such as HIV. Retroviruses undertake reverse transcription to produce complementary DNA (cDNA) with the help of the enzyme reverse transcriptase.


  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/3300846
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01197775