Navigation Links
Researchers show how viruses evolve, and in some cases, become deadly
Date:1/26/2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- In the current issue of Science, researchers at Michigan State University demonstrate how a new virus evolves, which 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 co-authored the paper with Richard Lenski, MSU Hannah Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

"We were surprised at first to see Lambda evolve this new function, this ability to attack and enter the cell through a new receptor and it happened so fast," Meyer said. "But when we re-ran the evolution experiment, we saw the same thing happen over and over."

This paper follows recent news that scientists in the United States and the Netherlands produced a deadly version of bird flu. Even though bird flu is a mere five mutations away from becoming transmissible between humans, it's highly unlikely the virus could naturally obtain all of the beneficial mutations all at once. However, it might evolve sequentially, gaining benefits one-by-one, if conditions are favorable at each step, he added.

Through research conducted at BEACON, MSU's National Science Foundation Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, Meyer and his colleagues' ability to duplicate the results implied that adaptation by natural selection, or survival of the fittest, had an important role in the virus' evolution.

When the genomes of the adaptable virus were sequenced, they always had four mutations in common. The viruses that didn't evolve the new way of entering cells had some of the four mutations but never all four together, said Meyer, who holds the Barnett Rosenberg Fellowship in MSU's College of Natural Science.

"In other words, natural selection promoted the virus' evolution because the mutations helped them use both their old and new attacks," Meyer said. "The finding raises questions of whether the five bird flu mutations may also have multiple functions, and could they evolve naturally?"


'/>"/>
Contact: Layne Cameron
layne.cameron@ur.msu.edu
517-884-2561
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Berkeley Lab researchers discover critical rotational motion in cells
2. CU School of Medicine researchers look at effects of 2 common sweeteners on the body
3. Researchers develop gene therapy that could correct a common form of blindness
4. Researchers meet to refine carbon budget for US East Coast
5. Penn researchers help solve questions about Ethiopians high-altitude adaptations
6. Notre Dame researchers report fundamental malaria discovery
7. Researchers find gene critical to sense of smell in fruit fly
8. Native forest birds in unprecedented trouble, according to University of Hawaii at Manoa researchers
9. Researchers discover green pesticide for citrus pests
10. 2-timing and hybrids: RUB researchers look back on 100 million years of evolution
11. Researchers identify possible receptor for key breast cancer regulator
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/21/2016)... March 22, 2016 Unique ... passcodes for superior security   ... provider of secure digital communications services, today announced it ... and offer enterprise customers, particularly those in the Financial ... and voice authentication within a mobile app, alongside, and ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... ABI Research, the leader in transformative ... market will reach more than $30 billion by ... Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, continue to boost the ... reach two billion shipments by 2021 at a ... Research Analyst at ABI Research. "Surveillance is also ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Yissum Research Development Company ... company of the Hebrew University, announced today the formation ... technology of various human biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has ... from private investors. ... detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, enables reliable ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... 26, 2016  Agriculture nutrients are in the news ... is running their nitrate removal system on ... and coastal regions nationwide are painting the ... widespread issue. NECi Superior Enzymes, a biotechnology ... developed a new, easy to use device that fits ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... 26, 2016 Q BioMed Inc. (OTCQB: ... be a featured presenter at the 5th Annual Marcum MicroCap ... York City at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. ... BioMed Inc. CEO, is scheduled to begin at 11a.m ET ... business strategy, recent developments and outline milestones for the balance ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... , ... After several promising treatments in Panama using stem ... Knowledge in Panama, a 6 year-old Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy patient received his first ... FDA approval of a second application for a single patient, investigational new drug ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... FireflySci cuvettes are used in leading laboratories all over the globe. Their ... , In addition to manufacturing awesome cuvettes, FireflySci makes spectrophotometer calibration standards that ...
Breaking Biology Technology: