HIV and Reserve Transcriptase
Location: Outside U.S.
Date: Fall 2012
I Know a little bit about AIDS there was a question in mind for 2 days. If the HIV have reverse transcriptase enzyme why don't we make a good virus that have reverse transcriptase enzyme that change the Changed DNA to put it back to it original condition? after all i know it only a nucleic acid fragment, right ?
This is a great question! In fact, you are not the first person to
think of using the ability of retroviruses or other forms of virus to
insert DNA into cells. It is well known that viruses can insert
harmful DNA into cells, but if a new virus was engineered with
healthy, 'good', genes, might it be possible to heal damaged DNA in
cells? This is the aim of gene therapy research, where genetic
disorders can be potentially corrected by inserting a healthy gene
into cells by means of viruses or other methodology.
There are some significant limitations, though. In general viruses
that integrate into human DNA do not 'target' where they are inserted.
Thus, if they are randomly inserted in the middle of a healthy gene,
they might cause more problems than they solve. There are other
safety concerns associated with it, and it can be very challenging to
give someone a therapeutically relevant dose without incurring safety
That being said, gene therapy - particularly with viruses - is an
ongoing area of clinical research. In addition to its potential use
in the clinic, the ability to insert specific genes into cells using
viruses is widely used as a valuable research tool in the laboratory.
It allows scientists to study cellular function and genetics in a very
S. Unterman Ph.D.
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Update: November 2011