Genetically modified virus
Genetic modification involves the insertion or deletion of genes. When genes are inserted, they usually come from a different species, which is a form of horizontal gene transfer. In nature this can occur when exogenous DNA penetrates the cell membrane for any reason but usually for domination of other diseases.
To do this artificially may require attaching the genes to a virus or just physically inserting the extra DNA into the nucleus of the intended host with a very small syringe, or with very small particles fired from a gene gun. However, other methods exploit natural forms of gene transfer, such as the ability of Agrobacterium to transfer genetic material to plants, or the ability of lentiviruses to transfer genes to animal cells.
Gene therapy uses genetically modified viruses to deliver genes that can cure disease into human cells. Although gene therapy is still relatively new, it has had some successes. It has been used to treat genetic disorders such as severe combined immunodeficiency.
In 2012, US researchers reported that they injected a genetically modified virus into the heart of guinea pigs. This virus inserted into the heart muscles a gene called Tbx18 which enabled heartbeats. The researchers forecast that one day this technique could be used to restore the heartbeat in humans who would otherwise need electronic pacemakers.
In 2004, researchers reported that a genetically modified virus that exploits the selfish behaviour of cancer cells might offer an alternative way of killing tumours. Since then, several researchers have developed genetically modified oncolytic viruses that show promise as treatments for various types of cancer  
In Spain and Portugal, by 2005 rabbits had declined by as much as 95% over 50 years due diseases such as myxomatosis, rabbit haemorrhagic disease and other causes. This in turn caused declines in predators like the Iberian lynx, a critically endagered species. In 2000 Spanish researchers investigated a genetically modified virus which might have protected rabbits in the wild against myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease. However there was concern that such a virus might make its way into wild populations in areas such as Australia and create a population boom. Rabbits in Australia are considered to be such a pest that land owners are legally obliged to control them.
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- http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/virus-battery-0402.html New virus-built battery could power cars, electronic devices
- Hidden Ingredient In New, Greener Battery: A Virus
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- Genetically-modified virus explodes cancer cells
- GM virus shrinks cancer tumours in humans
- Could a GM virus beat prostate cancer?
- Leja, J.; Yu, D.; Nilsson, B.; Gedda, L.; Zieba, A.; Hakkarainen, T.; Åkerström, G.; Öberg, K.; Giandomenico, V.; Essand, M. (2011). "Oncolytic adenovirus modified with somatostatin motifs for selective infection of neuroendocrine tumor cells". Gene Therapy 18 (11): 1052–1062. doi:10.1038/gt.2011.54. PMID 21490682.
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- Catalyst: GM Virus - ABC TV Science
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