Sequence analysis suggests that ancient recombination events may have occurred between genetically distinct retroviruses. An experimental system was utilized to explore the genetic interaction between different viruses. Moloney murine sarcoma virus and spleen necrosis virus are type C retroviruses that belong to different subgenera. With vectors containing packaging signals from these two viruses, DNA proviruses containing genetic information from both RNAs can be generated. This is the first experimental evidence to indicate that RNA from different retroviruses can copackage and exchange genetic information.