'Breeding' Antigens for New Vaccines

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Science  13 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5528, pp. 236-238
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5528.236

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REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA-- Rather than carefully manipulating genes to develop a product with specific characteristics, a handful of biotechs are using a technique known as directed molecular evolution to hunt for chance offspring that have the desired features. This approach mimics natural selection, but on a minuscule scale and with a focused purpose. One company is now using this strategy to hunt for vaccines. Its work is still in the early stages of test tube and animal testing, but if it succeeds, it could add a novel tool to the vaccinemaker's workbench.