Ebola virus edits its own genetic material

Ebola virus

As the Ebola virus (shown) invades a host, it adds building blocks to its genetic material that may alter the proteins it makes. Studying these proteins may lead to better treatments for the virus.

NIAID/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

As it invades a host cell, the Ebola virus edits its genetic material, adding extra RNA building blocks. These changes may produce new proteins that scientists have not yet described, which in turn may affect how the virus grows in animals and humans. Studying the proteins in greater detail may lead to better treatments for Ebola in the future, scientists suggest November 4 in mBio. 

The team also studied Marburg virus, which is related to the Ebola virus, and found similar types of edits to its genetic material.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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