PerspectiveEvolutionary Biology

Predictive Evolution

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Science  03 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5446, pp. 1866-1867
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5446.1866

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Each year an international panel of virology experts must recommend which flu virus strains to include in the preparation of the vaccine to combat the upcoming flu season. As Hillis explains in his Perspective, this tough challenge should be made easier by the finding that those viral strains showing the greatest number of substitutions among amino acids in the HA1 domain of hemagglutinin (the spike-like protein on the viral surface that elicits an immune response) are more likely to contribute to future flu epidemics ( Bush et al.).