What’s the step-by-step process to genetically modify a virus?


What’s the step-by-step process to genetically modify a virus?

In: 0

Genetic modification, or genetic engineering, is the process of changing the DNA of an organism to give it new traits. To genetically modify a virus, scientists first need to collect a sample of the virus. Next, they use special tools to cut the virus’s DNA at specific spots. Then, they can insert new pieces of DNA into the gaps they have created. This new DNA might come from other viruses, or it could be made in a laboratory. Finally, the modified virus is grown in a lab, where it can reproduce and pass on its new traits to future generations.

This is a slightly worrying question but here goes an oversimplified version.

For the genetic modification you obtain your virus and infect a model organism. Probably a known bacterial strain or a specific mouse model.

Nowadays there might even be specialized bacterial strains that already produce specific virus vesicles which have been rendered harmless (?)

You have to choose the right host te create viable virusses. E. coli is relatively widely used because of its ability to cut and ‘repair’ DNA

When you have an infected strain, the viral genome is within the bacterium’s genome.

You analyse

Then decide where to cut

Produce the right tools with a reasonably selective cutting key to target the virus genome.

Then you introduce the cutting tools and possibly the preferred dna you want to insert. (Look up Crispr-cas which is a cutting tool that is quite elegant). You could also just want to cut out some parts to disable certain genes.

After that you grow the bacteria and check whether or not your cuts have been successful.

Lastly you do something like a pcr, specifically looking whether or not the insertion was successful and in the right direction. (Sometimes your target dna gets inserted the wrong way around)

Now you have a bacteria with the tools to produce modified viruses.

Most preferably you add a step after or during infection to allow you to (de)activate the virus production. That allows you to activate it at will by simply adding a certain activator.

Sooo the steps are: get virus, infect host, cut virus dna and insert modification, do controls to check if it worked, et voilà you have your custom virus producing host.