Viruses have some characteristics in common with cell-based life. They can evolve and adapt to environmental conditions. Directed evolution can be used by researchers to produce viral strains with desirable phenotypes. Through bioselection, improved strains of oncolytic viruses can be obtained that have better safety profiles, increased specificity for malignant cells, and more efficient spread among tumor cells. It is also possible to select strains capable of killing a broader spectrum of cancer cell variants, so as to achieve a higher frequency of therapeutic responses. This review describes and analyses virus adaptation studies performed with members of four RNA virus families that are used for viral oncolysis: reoviruses, paramyxoviruses, enteroviruses, and rhabdoviruses.