Definition of protovirus in English:

protovirus

noun

  • 1A hypothetical primitive or ancestral virus.

  • 2(In H. M. Temin's terminology) a hypothetical sequence of chromosomal DNA in a somatic cell that can replicate by reverse transcription and give rise by mutation to an oncogenic virus (frequently attributive, especially in "protovirus hypothesis", "protovirus theory").

Origin

1950s; earliest use found in Language.