Weitz Group @ Georgia Tech Theoretical Ecology and Quantitative Biology

Researchers show how new viruses evolve key innovations (Science, 2012)

Posted by jsweitz

Prof. Joshua Weitz is one of a team of researchers led by Justin Meyer and Richard Lenski at Michigan State University that have demonstrated how a new virus evolves. The study, published in Science, sheds light on how easy it can be for diseases to gain dangerous mutations.

The scientists showed for the first time how the virus called "Lambda" evolved to find a new way to attack host cells, an innovation that took four mutations to accomplish. "This virus infects bacteria, in particular the common E. coli bacterium. Lambda isn't dangerous to humans, but this research demonstrated how viruses evolve complex and potentially deadly new traits," said Justin Meyer, MSU graduate student, who led the study.

More details of the study can be found in Science. More coverage of the study can be found in a News and Views article as well as in the New York Times.