Nature's Latest Flu Experiment: My Story in Today's New York Times On A New Virus In Seals

By Carl Zimmer | July 31, 2012 9:11 am

Last September, harbor seal pups in Massachusetts and New Hampshire started to die in droves. In today’s New York Times, I write about what killed them: a new influenza strain that evolved from shorebirds to seals, possibly as recently as last summer. While controversy swirls around scientists experimentally nudging flu viruses across the evolutionary between birds and mammals, Nature has been doing some experiments of its own. Check it out.

PS–The paper is in press at mBio. I’ll post a direct link when there is one, which should be this morning. Update: Here’s the paper.

[Photo of harbor seals in Nantucket by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region

Comments (2)

  1. John Kwok

    This is an excellent post of yours, Carl, which should remind evolution denialists just how rapidly viruses can evolve and can also “jump” easily from one mammalian species to another.

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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