Yeah, but can they bring back my dead cat?

The Post has a neat article on how a 1918 flu virus was brought back to life thanks to genetic researchers. Traces were found in a corpse frozen in Alaska, and using “reverse genetics” the scientists were able to recreate the virus. I have a dead cat buried in my sandbox back home. Maybe he is next in line? Fascinating stuff… Taubenberger’s team sequenced genome information recovered from a female flu victim buried in the Alaskan permafrost in 1918. Then, they shared the data with researchers at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Using a technique called reverse genetics, the Mount Sinai researchers used the genetic coding to create microscopic, virus-like strings of genes, called plasmids. The plasmids then were sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where they were inserted into human kidney cells for the final step in the virus reconstruction. “Once you get the plasmids inside the cell, the virus assembles itself,” said Terrence Tumpey, the CDC research scientist who assembled the virus. “It only takes a couple of days.”]]>

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