Synthetic virology: Building viruses to better understand them

Benjamin R. Tenoever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Generally comprised of less than a dozen components, RNA viruses can be viewed as well-designed genetic circuits optimized to replicate and spread within a given host. Understanding the molecular design that enables this activity not only allows one to disrupt these circuits to study their biology, but it provides a reprogramming framework to achieve novel outputs. Recent advances have enabled a “learning by building” approach to better understand virus biology and create valuable tools. Below is a summary of how modifying the preexisting genetic framework of influenza A virus has been used to track viral movement, understand virus replication, and identify host factors that engage this viral circuitry.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera038703
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


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