FOR most people, the idea of isolation is an uncomfortable one. It interests Paul Turner, however, because it goes hand in hand with the formation of new species. Dr Turner is a biologist at Yale University, and he and his team have just become the first people to create a new biological species in a laboratory by encouraging the sort of ecological isolation that happens in the wild. Admittedly the species in question is a virus, but the proof of principle is important. Moreover, Dr Turner’s method might be adapted to examine how animal viruses jump the species barrier to become agents of human disease.