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reassortment and recombination > shuffling

Posted on May 3, 2005 by Chung-hong Chan

The lay press reported the "reassortment" and "recombination" in avian flu viruses or SARS associated coronavirus as "deck card shuffling effect"(洗牌效應). As a layman, you should know WTF is "shuffling of the deck card" , but you should fail to understand WTF are "reassortment" and "recombination".
Can I say the lay press reporting "shuffling of the deck card" is disgraceful to the virologists and microbiologists?
No!
For the virologists, "reassortment" and "recombination" > "shuffling of the deck card"
For layman, "shuffling the deck card" > "reassortment" and "recombination"
They are technical jargons. Layman without formal training in molecular biology or microbiology will simply fail to understand.
As a pseudo-microbiologist, pseudo-epidemiologist and pseudo-scientist and involved in lot of press conferences on new medical research findings, I feel nothing but ridiculous and nonsense if someone seriously organize an activity to correct "deck card shuffling effect" with "reassortment" and "recombination" simply because "shuffling of the deck card is a very narrow definition of viral genetic exchange" or "laymen will misunderstand the viruses, they may think that viruses are gamblers!" sort of.
Remember, they are the reporters from Apple Daily or Cable TV, not Science, Nature, New England Journal of Medicine or BMJ.


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