Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

A Snag for Mutating Viruses to Extinction

In the New York Times, Carl Zimmer discusses a tack being taken to fight viruses. Viruses, he says, evolve rapidly to escape the reaches of the immune system and to adjust to a new tissue that they have invaded, but mutate too much and the viruses suffer. "[Some scientists] hope to cure infections by forcing viruses to evolve their way to extinction," Zimmer writes. However, a new paper coming out in Genetics from a team at the University of Texas, Austin, tested the impact of a high mutation rate on the long-term fitness of DNA bacteriophage T7. The researchers grew the phage up with a mutagen — producing four non-lethal mutations per generation — and saw that, after 200 generations, fitness had increased. "Failure of the theory challenges the quantitative basis of lethal mutagenesis and highlights the potential for adaptive evolution at high mutation rates," the researchers write.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.