In recent weeks, scientists have sounded the alarm about new variants of the coronavirus that carry a handful of tiny mutations, some of which seem to make vaccines less effective.

But it is not just these small genetic changes that are raising concerns. The novel coronavirus has a propensity to mix large chunks of its genome when it makes copies of itself. Unlike small mutations, which are like typos in the sequence, a phenomenon called recombination resembles a major copy-and-paste error in which the second half of a sentence is completely overwritten with a slightly different version.

A flurry of new studies suggests that recombination may allow the virus to shapeshift in dangerous ways. But in the long term, this biological machinery may offer a silver lining, helping researchers find drugs to stop the virus in its tracks.

More in category

After Hundreds of Interviews, Here's John Whyte's View of COVID
May 05, 2021Medscape
After Hundreds of Interviews, Here's John Whyte's View of COVID
The variant found in N.Y.C. doesn’t seem to lead to more severe infections, a preliminary study finds.
May 05, 2021The NY Times
The variant found in N.Y.C. doesn’t seem to lead to more severe infections, a preliminary study finds.
Every Cereal Brand in America in 2021—Ranked!
May 05, 2021MSN
Every Cereal Brand in America in 2021—Ranked!
5 questions to ask a new therapist to find out if you’re a good match
May 05, 2021MSN
5 questions to ask a new therapist to find out if you’re a good match
The Secret to Avoiding Obesity May Lie in Your Gut, Says New Study
May 05, 2021MSN
The Secret to Avoiding Obesity May Lie in Your Gut, Says New Study
Fast Five Quiz: Stage III Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
May 05, 2021Medscape
Fast Five Quiz: Stage III Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
Angelina Jolie Said Her Kids *Love* to Make Her Cry on Mother’s Day
May 05, 2021MSN
Angelina Jolie Said Her Kids *Love* to Make Her Cry on Mother’s Day
The #1 Best Tea to Drink, According to Dietitians
May 05, 2021MSN
The #1 Best Tea to Drink, According to Dietitians
How Asians Became the Most Vaccinated Group in New York City
May 05, 2021The NY Times
How Asians Became the Most Vaccinated Group in New York City
The Power of Independent Data Monitoring Committees Is Diminishing
May 05, 2021Medscape
The Power of Independent Data Monitoring Committees Is Diminishing
Pharma Company to Pay $12.6M to Settle Kickback Allegations
May 05, 2021Medscape
Pharma Company to Pay $12.6M to Settle Kickback Allegations
1 in 4 U.S. Teens Has Had a Concussion
May 05, 2021WebMD
1 in 4 U.S. Teens Has Had a Concussion
Getting your 2nd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? What to know
May 05, 2021MSN
Getting your 2nd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? What to know
How Much Is Too Much Hair Loss? Here's When to See a Trichologist
May 05, 2021MSN
How Much Is Too Much Hair Loss? Here's When to See a Trichologist
Dr. Fauci Says Worry About This, Not Herd Immunity
May 05, 2021MSN
Dr. Fauci Says Worry About This, Not Herd Immunity
A List of 15 Concrete Ways to Re-Mother Yourself
May 05, 2021MSN
A List of 15 Concrete Ways to Re-Mother Yourself
Anxiety Got You Down? Check Out These CBD Oils For Anxiety
May 05, 2021MSN
Anxiety Got You Down? Check Out These CBD Oils For Anxiety
She Kept Madrid Open in the Pandemic. Voters Rewarded Her.
May 05, 2021The NY Times
She Kept Madrid Open in the Pandemic. Voters Rewarded Her.
Fast Five Quiz: Squamous Cell Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
May 05, 2021Medscape
Fast Five Quiz: Squamous Cell Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Guidance on Talking to Patients About COVID-19 Vaccines
May 05, 2021Medscape
Guidance on Talking to Patients About COVID-19 Vaccines
Marijuana Vaping More Common Among Hispanic Teens
May 05, 2021Medscape
Marijuana Vaping More Common Among Hispanic Teens