“Some biologists have wondered if it might someday be possible to alter the genetic material of a human being, for example, to remedy some metabolic deficiency. How would one introduce the desired genetic information? One possibility would be to administer a harmless virus that bears the required gene. The Shope papilloma virus, which causes tumors in rabbits, also induces the synthesis of a distinctive form of the enzyme arginase. The question arose whether the same effect might be obtained in human beings. Stanfield Rogers of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory got at the question indirectly: the blood of people who had worked with, and therefore been exposed to, the Shope virus was found to be carrying ‘virus information.’ The Shope virus, Rogers suggests, is a harmless ‘passenger’ virus in these people. It is possible that there are other such viruses.”

Scientific American, February 1967

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