The amazingly hot field of synthetic biology has now spawned an engineered virus that attacks bacteria. Timothy Lu, a doctoral student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, says he and colleagues created the virus by drawing from a library of genes. In this particular case, the researchers took a gene that produced the enzyme dispersin B and inserted it into the genome of the T7 virus. The enzyme is known to degrade bacteria's molecular "scaffolding." At a later stage, he says, the scientists should be able to design new viruses engineered to attack specific bacteria. And these new viruses could be used to create a new generation of antibiotics--as well as industrial cleaners.
- read the report from MSNBC
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