By Carl Zimmer
A Planet of Viruses is Carl Zimmer’s eye-opening examine the hidden international of viruses. Zimmer, the preferred technology author and writer of National Geographic’s award-winning weblog The Loom, has up to date this version to incorporate the tales of recent outbreaks, similar to Ebola, MERS, and chikungunya virus; new clinical discoveries, comparable to a hundred-million-year-old virus that contaminated the typical ancestor of armadillos, elephants, and people; and new findings that exhibit why weather swap could lead on to even deadlier outbreaks. Zimmer’s lucid factors and interesting tales display how deeply people and viruses are intertwined. Viruses helped supply upward push to the 1st life-forms, are liable for lots of our so much devastating ailments, and may proceed to manage our destiny for hundreds of years. completely readable, and as reassuring because it is scary, A Planet of Viruses is a desirable travel of an impressive hidden world.
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Extra resources for A Planet of Viruses: Second Edition
Dysentery is caused by bacteria known as Shigella. Today, doctors can use antibiotics to kill bacteria, but those drugs would not be discovered until decades after the Great War. To better understand his enemy, Herelle examined the diarrhea produced by the sick soldiers. As part of his analysis, he passed the stool of the soldiers through fine filters, trapping Shigella and any other bacteria they contained. Once Herelle had produced this clear, bacteria-Â�free fluid, he then mixed it with a fresh sample of Shigella bacteria and 38 the enemy of our enemy then spread the mixture of bacteria and clear fluid in petri dishes.
But the transition from bird to human is not a simple one. The genes a bird flu virus needs to thrive are different from those needed inside a human body. Human bodies are cooler than bird bodies, for example, and that difference means that molecules need different shapes to run efficiently. As a result, bird flu viruses that leap into humans usually wind up in viral dead ends because they can’t spread from person to person. Starting in 2005, for example, a strain of flu from birds called H5N1 began to sicken hundreds of people in Southeast Asia.
But diversity can also evolve by more peaceful means. Temperate phages merge seamlessly into their host’s DNA; when the host reproduces, it copies the virus’s DNA along with its own. As long as a temperate phage’s DNA remains intact, it can still break free from its host during times of stress. But over enough generations, a temperate phage will pick up mutations that hobble it, so that it can no longer escape. It becomes a permanent part of its host’s genome. As a host cell manufactures new viruses, it sometimes accidentally adds some of its own genes to them.
A Planet of Viruses: Second Edition by Carl Zimmer