DATABASE: Angling for Viruses

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Science  08 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5561, pp. 1799a
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5561.1799a

Researchers at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater have released a database that makes it easier to flush out viruses lurking in tissue samples. Launched last fall by virologist Ulrich Melcher and colleagues, VirOligo lists thousands of oligonucleotides, short sequences of DNA that can be used to fish out viral genetic material. The collection should benefit anyone who runs diagnostic tests such as the polymerase chain reaction, Melcher says, because it can be time-consuming to scan the literature for the right oligonucleotide sequence to nail down a particular virus. The expanding database now includes information for a long roster of human and animal pathogens, including those behind AIDS, foot-and-mouth disease, the flu, and polio.

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