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March 14, 2006

Computational chemistry - biology advance: complete virus modelled

Researchers simulate complete structure of virus -- on a computer. This is showing an advance of the power and capabilities of computational chemistry and now computational molecular biology. Better computer work can accelerate the progress of the experimental work.

The satellite virus they chose is a spherical RNA sub-viral agent that is so small and simple that it can only proliferate in a cell already hijacked by a helper virus -- in this case the tobacco mosaic virus that is a serious threat to tomato plants. A computer program was used to reverse engineer the dynamics of all atoms making up the virus and a small drop of salt water surrounding it. The virus and water contain more than a million atoms altogether.

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