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Biotech

Crowdsourcing HIV Research 52 52

biolgeek writes "In recent years, HIV has been managed with a collection of therapies. However, the virus will likely evolve around these drugs, making it crucially important to get a better understanding of the virus itself. An important step in understanding the virus is to get a handle on its genetic blueprint. William Dampier of Drexler University is taking a novel approach to this research by crowdsourcing his problem. He is hosting a bioinformatics competition, which requires contestants to find markers in the HIV sequence that predict a change in the severity of the infection (as measured by viral load). So far the best entry comes from Fontanelles, an HIV research group, which has been able to predict a change in viral load with 66% accuracy."

Comment: Re:Don't tell the evolutionists.... (Score 1) 657 657

Not trying to nitpick here (and I may be wrong), but wouldn't lack of competition actually stifle evolution? Evolution implies survival of the fittest, where a mutation eventually becomes standard. If there is no competition, even the non-fit ones are surviving and multiplying, therefore the "strong" mutation isn't becoming as dominant as evolution would require. There would also be less to feed on and breed with, which can either work for or against evolution now that I think of it.

In the end, we both may be right. I'm just a bit confused as to whether a huge drop in population actually accelerates or deccelerates evolution.

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