Viral Lazaruses?

Or is it Lazarai? Either way, The New Yorker has an interesting article about recreating extinct viruses. To be precise, the article deals with recreating retroviruses.

Before you get all het up about the Evul Scientists creating a new AIDS or some hooey, most mammalian genomes (and other organisms) are chock full off degenerate–non-functional–retroviruses. Presumably they would up in these genomes by infecting the host, so figuring out what ancient viruses look like can help us figure out how today’s viral threats work. While there’s some hyperbole in the article, it’s still a pretty good lay introduction to retroviruses, and some of the possible therapeutic approaches to treat HIV.

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