An artificial version of the Schmallenberg virus has been made by scientists in Scotland as part of research to find out more about the livestock disease.
I love misinformative headlines – and the sub-editors who write them [NOT!!]. Do they mean "virus of synthetic farms"? "Synthetic virus infecting farms"?
What they ACTUALLY mean here is that folk in Scotland have used a reverse genetics approach (=made an infectious clone, by expressing genomic RNA from a cDNA in the presence of appropriate viral proteins co-expressed form another DNA) to make infectious Schmallenberg virus, which causes abortion in sheep, among other things.
Now it is interesting that, although these guys claim to have made a MORE virulent form of the virus in mice, that there is no outcry, along the lines of the H5N1 saga of recent times. And possibly there should be, because no-one knows what happens to the host range if you passage the virus in mice, not to mention transmissibility.
See on www.bbc.co.uk