Monday, June 2, 2008

Birth Of A Killer

This is pretty amazing. 
Genesis of a Virus
Scientists witness the birth of an HIV particle as it happens.
Over the years, HIV has proved a tricky target. No one could definitively show where in the cell it assembled, or when it was released. Certainly no one knew how long it took a single virus to be born. And so much of what's known about HIV and other viruses has been pieced together through experiments that rely on inference: microscopic and chemical probing of cells frozen in different states of viral infection provide only information about what was happening in that cell at a particular moment in time. Now researchers have been able to watch as hundreds of thousands of molecules assemble inside a cell to create a single particle of HIV.

"No one's ever actually observed virus particles assembling before," says Paul Bieniasz, a virology researcher at Rockefeller University and the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, and one of the scientists involved in the project. Their study marks the first time that scientists have been able to observe a virus--any virus--being built, and it holds the potential to revolutionize the relationship that scientists have with the viruses they study.
Click here to see video.

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