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Engineering an ancestral protein into E. coli makes it virus-resistant.
Viruses often commandeer their hosts’ proteins to turn infected cells into virus factories. Researchers have tried inactivating these proteins to boost virus resistance in plants, but this can harm the hosts. Jose Sanchez-Ruiz and his colleagues at the University of Granada in Spain have developed another way of doing this, using Escherichia coli, which can be infected by a bacteriophage — a bacterial virus — called T7.