A team led by Thierry Heidmann at the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, near Paris, decided to try to awaken the ancestor of an entire family of HERVs called HERV-K(HML2). To "correct" for mutations, the researchers took dozens of known HERV-K(HML2) sequences and aligned them to create a so-called "consensus" sequence. Then they converted this information into a complete viral genome.Link (via William Gibson)
The researchers showed that the newly crated virus could infect a variety of human cell lines and replicate. But its infectivity was extremely low, perhaps because human cells have evolved resistance against such viral invaders.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.