Viral orgy

By Claire Ainsworth DESIGNER viruses can now be bred especially for gene therapy. A Californian biotech company has developed a way of “evolving” viruses to target specific types of cells. Tailor-made viruses could make gene therapy safer and more effective, but they are hard to engineer using conventional methods. For example, retroviruses are ideal for gene therapy as they integrate their genes into the DNA of their hosts. But the intricate lock-and-key mechanism these viruses use to break into cells is difficult to alter without disabling it. Now a team at Maxygen, a biotechnology company based in Redwood City, California,
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