Saturday, September 23, 2017
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Scientists have recreated an extinct virus

Posted on Tuesday, 11 July, 2017 | Comment icon 23 comments

Is experimenting with viruses really a good idea ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 NIAID
Scientists at the University of Alberta have managed to recreate a relative of the deadly smallpox virus.
The idea that mankind could be wiped out by an infectious man-made virus has been explored in movies, books and television shows for years, but just how plausible is such a scenario ?

Sadly, the creation of a potentially lethal pathogen is actually very possible, as evidenced recently in Canada where a research team has managed to bring an extinct virus back from the dead.

A relative of the smallpox virus, which itself killed countless people over the centuries before being finally eradicated in 1980, the newly recreated virus is thankfully harmless, but its mere existence demonstrates that it is genuinely possible to create such things in a laboratory.

The project, which was headed up by Professor David Evans, cost around $100,000 and involved combining pieces of DNA together in the correct sequence.

Not everyone however is convinced that publicizing such research is necessarily a good idea.

"Demonstrating this can be done - and then writing newspaper articles about it and Science magazine articles - will get the attention of people who might want to use it for the wrong reasons and they might have never known about that," said Harvard University's Professor Marc Lipsitch.

Source: Scientific American | Comments (23)

Tags: Virus

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #14 Posted by Parsec on 11 July, 2017, 20:23
That's a whole new level for the definition of "fresh fish"!
Comment icon #15 Posted by Parsec on 11 July, 2017, 20:26
Yeah, well, if you remove the glamorous layer and stick to reality, probably yes. More in the vein of The Crazies.
Comment icon #16 Posted by UFOwatcher on 11 July, 2017, 23:14
What could possibly go wrong with this?
Comment icon #17 Posted by Orphalesion on 12 July, 2017, 9:09
I think the headline should include an explanation that this is done to further research in possible treatments for cancer: The way it stands now it's easy to misinterpret it as scientists doing dangerous science for the sake of science, unless one reads the article (which only mentions the reasons for this procedure in an almost off-hand manner). Why does fear of the possible, future misuse of such technology get the headline instead of excitement about it's possible, future benefits? Except, you know, that was a stupid Hollywood movie.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Farmer77 on 12 July, 2017, 9:12
Because from a very basic risk vs reward analysis standpoint it doesn't seem to be worth it
Comment icon #19 Posted by Sundew on 12 July, 2017, 12:43
I'll go with Jeff Goldblum here: "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." Life, if you even consider viruses living, has a way of escaping and surviving. So let's hope this "relative" of Smallpox is not pathogenic to humans.
Comment icon #20 Posted by paperdyer on 12 July, 2017, 19:55
Don't forget Vincent Price's version "The Last Man on Earth" I think this was also the first version as well. How are they going to know if the virus mutants into something that isn't harmless? Wait until someone takes a sample out to play with and (enter your tag line here!)
Comment icon #21 Posted by Mr Supertypo on 13 July, 2017, 5:14
If science is able to bring this back to life it means nature also can. Better be prepared than be caught with your pants down.....just saying.
Comment icon #22 Posted by oneshot_me on 16 July, 2017, 13:30
Now how dumb is this?? One of these days they are going to do this with the wrong one and kill us all!!!!
Comment icon #23 Posted by ChaosRose on 16 July, 2017, 16:28
It sounds dangerous, but if they cure cancer with it, we'll all be cheering.

Please Login or Register to post a comment.

  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:


Juno captures stunning new images of Jupiter
NASA's Juno probe has sent back four breathtaking new images of the gas giant's swirling atmosphere.
100 people could live on the Moon by 2040
ESA's ambitious 'Moon village' plan could see humans living on the lunar surface within 25 years.
Man who prevented World War 3 dies aged 77
Former Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov made a decision in 1983 that may have saved the world.
Doomsayers claim the world will end tomorrow
Rumors of another apocalyptic collision with the mythical planet Nibiru have been circulating the Internet.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Exploring Antarctica's hidden depths
Posted 9-22-2017 | 0 comments
Scientists investigate some of the wildlife hidden beneath the Antarctic ice.
Science-fiction spacesuits
Posted 9-21-2017 | 0 comments
Adam Savage investigates a number of intricately detailed spacesuits used in movies.
Extreme neodymium magnet
Posted 9-20-2017 | 0 comments
Unboxing a magnet so powerful that it can suspend huge weights off the underside of a table.
Derren Brown and new age crystals
Posted 9-19-2017 | 0 comments
The psychological illusionist is joined by actor Martin Freeman for this remarkable trick.
I'll eat my hat
Posted 9-18-2017 | 0 comments
Where did the strange phrase 'I'll eat my hat' actually come from ?
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Guardian angel ?
9-13-2017 | Middle of nowhere Iowa
I'm not normal, but I'm not alone
9-13-2017 | South Africa
When I was very little
9-13-2017 | Sturgis So.Dakota
Weird light orbs and chills
9-13-2017 | Poland
Unexplained light flashes
8-30-2017 | Louisiana
A night that I will never forget
8-18-2017 | Massena, NY
8-18-2017 | Cranbrook British Columbia
Ghost experiences ?
8-11-2017 | United States

         More stories | Send us your story
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 2001-2017
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ