Vying Over A Virus

The creation of the first completely man-made virus, announced last week on the website of the journal Science, provoked a surprisingly heated debate among biologists. Eckard Wimmer, a microbiologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, led a team that built a copy of the polio virus by assembling more than 7,000 base pairs of DNA to match a published record of the virus's genetic code. Some scientists say the research, while an impressive technical feat, creates needless fears in a population already skittish about anthrax and smallpox. "Why did [Wimmer] pick a human disease which conjures up...

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