Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Scientists build virtual version of real-life virus

"This is no ordinary computer virus. Using a real-life virus as a model, researchers have built a virtual version using more than a million digital atoms.

Scientists have previously simulated small pieces of living cells, but researchers say this is the first digital simulation of an entire life form.

The achievement could lead to a better understanding of the inner workings of viruses and improvements in human health, the researchers say. It could also be used to help build nanomachines surrounded by shells similar to the protein capsid shell that protects viruses and helps them determine when to latch onto potential host cells.

For their project, the researchers chose to digitally reverse engineer the satellite tobacco mosaic virus due to its small size and simplicity."

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