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Posts tagged ‘herpes viruses’

Molecular Fordism: manufacturing a monster

Ben receives his certificate from David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science

Ben receives his certificate from David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science

Viruses are produced on an assembly line just like cars and laptops, and Ben Bleasdale is looking to throw a spanner in the works, as he explains in his article commended for the 2013 Max Perutz Science Writing Award.

Look at your phone on the desk next to you, perhaps the laptop you’re reading this on, maybe a car passing outside the window or a plane overhead. All these machines were made on a production line. Each one representing a list of components, assembled in a precise order to create a series of replicas — each machine becoming greater than the sum of its parts.

Viruses are molecular machines, likewise assembled from a list of parts pieced together in a specific order. Humans weren’t the first to recognise the potential of a production line to rapidly manufacture their Model T motorcars, Nature arrived at the solution first. Read more