A Planet of Viruses

A Planet of Viruses

eBook - 2011
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Viruses are the smallest living things known to science, yet they hold the entire planet in their sway. We are most familiar with the viruses that give us colds or the flu, but viruses also cause a vast range of other diseases, including one disorder that makes people sprout branch-like growths as if they were trees. Viruses have been a part of our lives for so long, in fact, that we are actually part virus: the human genome contains more DNA from viruses than our own genes. Meanwhile, scientists are discovering viruses everywhere they look: in the soil, in the ocean, even in caves miles underground.

This fascinating book explores the hidden world of viruses--a world that we all inhabit. Here Carl Zimmer, popular science writer and author of Discover magazine's award-winning blog The Loom , presents the latest research on how viruses hold sway over our lives and our biosphere, how viruses helped give rise to the first life-forms, how viruses are producing new diseases, how we can harness viruses for our own ends, and how viruses will continue to control our fate for years to come. In this eye-opening tour of the frontiers of biology, where scientists are expanding our understanding of life as we know it, we learn that some treatments for the common cold do more harm than good; that the world's oceans are home to an astonishing number of viruses; and that the evolution of HIV is now in overdrive, spawning more mutated strains than we care to imagine.

The New York Times Book Review calls Carl Zimmer "as fine a science essayist as we have." A Planet of Viruses is sure to please his many fans and further enhance his reputation as one of America's most respected and admired science journalists.

Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2011
ISBN: 9780226983332
Characteristics: 1 online resource (x, 109 p.) : ill. (chiefly col.)


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Sep 23, 2018

An interesting little book on our friends that are always with us...from the early (~3000BC) reference to the common cold, to the more dangerous virus, its never a dull read. Good little read, and be thankful you have a good immune system.

Aug 08, 2018

Good book very readable describes viruses and what some of them do

Apr 05, 2017

They are ubiquitous. They are ancient. Their building blocks are to be found within our own bodies. And they can be deadly.
This highly interesting little book has a lot to say about them.
Starting with a very interesting section describing what a virus consists of and how they were first discovered, author Carl Zimmer then goes on to examine some of the most dangerous members of the virus kingdom.
Provides you with a good basic understanding of viruses.

Feb 27, 2016

Fascinating topic, and clearly written. It was just too short. A useful 'for further reading' section.

Feb 18, 2015

Interesting and fast read!

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