Researchers have figured out how to build their own artificial prions, the deadly, malformed proteins that cause the brain decay of mad-cow disease as well as Creutzfeldt-Jakob, the human form of the disease.
Why would anyone want to build something so destructive? Because by making their own prions, researchers can learn how they work. Learning how these deadly proteins operate is the first step in understanding how to stop their destruction.
Wired News: Science Cooks Up Deadly Proteins