Hot Zone Question

George McCabe xrghm at lepvax.gsfc.nasa.gov
Wed Mar 22 10:21:20 EST 1995


mowjmat at COOP.CRN.ORG (Biology Department) wrote:

>                                           ... It seems that a  larger
> population of viral carriers would yield a larger population of viruses, 
> thus the chance for favorable-random mutations is increased when the host 
> population is increased.

This is logical.  

	What motivates "random" mutations in an organism like a
virus?  Some of the talk here seems to attribute intelligence, even malice,
to a virus.  I have always assumed that strong if infrequent events like 
cosmic rays, disuptive contact with a foreign chemical agent, and the like...
create new strains.  It is intriguing to think though that there exists
some more tangible, perhaps deterministic motivator.  What for example,
caused a new strain of Ebola, airborne and monkey specific to appear, if
it didn't exist undetected before.

George




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