Evolution at the Host-Virus Interface


"Infectious diseases have for centuries ranked with wars and famine as major challenges to human progress and survival. They remain among the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Against a constant background of established infections, epidemics of new and old infectious diseases periodically emerge, greatly magnifying the global burden of infections. Studies of these emerging infections reveal the evolutionary properties of pathogenic microorganisms and the dynamic relationships between microorganisms, their hosts and the environment."

-- David Morens, Gregory Folkers & Anthony Fauci in Nature


Gallery of electron micrographs of viruses illustrating diversity in form and structure. Clockwise: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Aeromonas virus 31, Influenza virus, Orf virus, Herpes simplex virus (HSV), Smallpox virus. Borrowed from Ken Todar's website.

"the billion years war between cells and viruses has been (and still is) the major engine of life evolution.”

-- Patrick Forterre, Pasteur Institute, Paris, France

Electron micrographs of virions of double-stranded DNA viruses of archaea: (A) lipothrixvirus SIFV; (B) fusellovirus SSV1; (C) globulovirus PSV; (D) rudivirus SIRV1; (E) halovirus ØH1; (F) bicaudavirus ATV; (G) guttavirus SNFV; (H) ampullavirus ABV; (I) lipothrixvirus AFV1. From Forterre & Prangishvili (2009) Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1178: 65–77.