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Forced evolution: Can we mutate viruses to death?


oranphil
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This would be easier if there was a thermodynamic way to compare virus states where the structural energy defined by different states could be compared so we know the direction for deactivation. Then you create conditions to lead to this energy state.

 

The analogy is growing diamonds. We know the perfect diamond is at lowest energy, while defects will increase the energy built into the structure. If we were wanting to make perfect or defective diamonds we alter the conditions.

 

With virus we need to be able to define the configurational energy, since it is just a fancy grouping of chemicals. A particular virus will pack into a characteristic shape, with mutations between different bases and arrangement of bases defining the configurational potential difference between mutations. We need to determine whether increasing or decreasing potential is the trend for evolution.

 

I tend to think increasing energy is the direction of virus evolution. It stores potential like a little time bomb. Once it is triggered, the components quickly move toward lower energy. In this hypothetical model it would require the cell get hot with parts before they can stick into more little time bombs.

 

If evolution was lowering energy, it would eventually become more stable with the cells having more time to digest it. But on the other hand, the cell won't have to get as hot with lower energy parts to make more virus. The cell may be able to go into recycle easier, and eventually move the gene out of activation into an inert position on the DNA.

 

If the parts stick quickly that means the potential of the final product is low. If the parts stick slower they almost want to repel, but as the concentration increases this forward reaction becomes more favorable. We have the TNT of a very aggressive virus. This is just theory based on energy considerations using the assumption high and low energy virus configurations.

Edited by pioneer
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Pioneer, the authors use thermodynamics as an analogy only. Trying to address the strategy they propose in terms of actual thermodynamics results in gibberish.

 

The topic of this thread is a therapy which uses mutagenic drugs to drive fitness to negative levels.

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Yes and no. If you make the rate of mutation fast enough, it will kill all viruses, like when you use UV light to sterilize. If you have a slower rate of mutation, the viruses may evolve resistance to the mutagen you use. You could end up creating a particularly deadly strain of virus, or one resistant to current treatments. Also, I have no idea how you would create a mutagen to target the virus and spare the host.

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I think part of the effect of say an immune response is forcing say mutation to become more paramount, for say selection I guess. In many cases this simply kills off what is making the immune system respond I think. I know that phylogeny can be constructed for say tracing HIV, so you could say find the head vampire, not to make light of HIV though.

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actually, 'The Fly' was not about genetic manipulation, it was about a scientist who managed to create a teleportation machine but got messed up when he accidentally teleported a fly at the same time as himself. the fly got reassembled as part of his own structure because the machine did not know it was meant to be two seperate organisms instead of one.

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