The Devil’s Genome Project

Client: CBI
Deliverable: Novel Human Viral Pandemic Genome
Estimated Completion Date: TBD
Estimated Cost: >$3,000
Funds Secured: CBI

Long before viruses were found to be human disease vectors, adverse health conditions were attributed to supernatural forces. Demons, witches, the Devil and a vengeful God have all been identified as vectors of disease outbreak. We now know that new viral strains arise from the chance co-mingling of different viruses that happen to infect the same cell. Through the simple shuffling of genetic parts, new combinations can occur that dramatically alter their virulence, and sometimes empower them to infect new species, in new ways.

Modern industrial agriculture provides significantly greater opportunities for new viral configurations by confining tens of thousands of genetically similar and immunologically compromised animals, in close proximity to their human keepers. The resulting viral crucibles have already served as the origin points for several recent avian and swine flu pandemics. Siren Genomics proposes to dramatically increase the efficiency of this process, by taking biological life out of the loop, and performing the process of novel human viral recombination, entirely in simulation.

The Devil’s Genome Project is built upon a computational model trained with all available viral genomes. The millions of new novel genomes it generates are then assessed by a neural network trained on the DNA of only those viruses known to infect humans, from AIDS to Zika. While the vast majority of these new viral genomes are biologically meaningless, our artificial intelligence system is trained to recognize which ones may be statistically more viable, resulting in increasingly fit viral candidates.

The highest scoring viral genome is sequestered in an encrypted partition on The Devil’s Genome Server until it is summoned for synthesis into DNA. The cost of synthesizing any one of the Devil’s Genomes into DNA is estimated to cost less than five thousand Euros per evocation.

If not now, when?  

Siren Genomics serves a unique partnership between biotechnology, mythology, and eschatology.