An overall computer-simulated view of the satellite tobacco mosaic virus credit: University of Illinois/NCSA
When Boeing and Airbus developed their latest aircraft, the companies’ engineers designed and tested them on a computer long before the planes were built. Biologists are catching on. They’ve just completed the first computer simulation of an entire life form -- a virus.
In their quest to study life, biologists apply engineering knowledge somewhat differently: They "reverse engineer" life forms, test fly them in the computer, and see if they work in silico the way they do in vivo. This technique previously had been employed for small pieces of living cells, such as proteins, but not for an entire life form until now.
The accomplishment, performed by computational biologists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and crystallographers at the University of California at Irvine, is detailed in the March issue of the journal Structure.
Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
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