How can a virus be made from scratch?

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How can a virus be made from scratch?
« on: 25/01/2010 12:30:02 »
Calvin asked the Naked Scientists:
In July 2002, scientists at the state University of New York at Stony Brook announced that they had built a synthetic polio virus from scratch.

How could they do that?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 25/01/2010 12:30:02 by _system »


Offline Simon Waters

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How can a virus be made from scratch?
« Reply #1 on: 10/07/2010 21:40:14 »
The paper is published, and the process explained in outline in the Wikipedia article on Poliovirus.

newbielink: [nonactive]

See references 50 and 51, but they are behind pay walls.

In essence they made a DNA sequence that when transcribed into RNA reproduces the sequence of nucleotides that occur in the natural Poliovirus (which had previously been sequenced).

Poliovirus is one of the simpler viruses, but the procedure took 2 years and produced a virus that is less pathogenic than normal poliovirus (so presumably the resulting virus is not identical, perhaps in shape, or the capsid is different).

I suspect compared to recent announcements concerning whole genomes the Poliovirus was relatively simple, but still a big achievement in advancing the techniques at the time. Progress in this area is simply astounding.