Download A Planet of Viruses: Second Edition by Carl Zimmer PDF

By Carl Zimmer

The prior yr has been one in all viral panic—panic about viruses, that's. via headlines, public wellbeing and fitness warnings, and no less than one do-it-yourself hazmat swimsuit, we have been reminded of the strong strength of viruses. they're the smallest dwelling issues recognized to technology, but they could carry the whole planet of their sway.
A Planet of Viruses is Carl Zimmer’s eye-opening examine the hidden international of viruses. Zimmer, the preferred technological know-how author and writer of National Geographic’s award-winning weblog The Loom, has up-to-date this version to incorporate the tales of latest outbreaks, comparable to Ebola, MERS, and chikungunya virus; new clinical discoveries, reminiscent of a hundred-million-year-old virus that contaminated the typical ancestor of armadillos, elephants, and people; and new findings that express why weather swap could lead to even deadlier outbreaks. Zimmer’s lucid motives and engaging tales reveal how deeply people and viruses are intertwined. Viruses helped supply upward thrust to the 1st life-forms, are accountable for a lot of our such a lot devastating illnesses, and should proceed to regulate our destiny for hundreds of years. completely readable, and as reassuring because it is horrifying, A Planet of Viruses is a desirable travel of a powerful hidden world.

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Extra info for A Planet of Viruses: Second Edition

Example text

A cell “decides” to divide in response to signals both from the outside and the inside, mobilizing an army of molecules to reorganize its contents. Its internal skeleton of filaments reassembles itself, pulling apart the cell’s contents to two ends. 2 billion “letters” all told, organized into 46 clumps called chromosomes. The cell must drag those chromosomes to either end of the cell and build a wall through its center. During this buzz of activity, supervising molecules monitor the progress. If the cell shows signs of becoming cancerous, they can trigger it to commit suicide.

Natural selection favors these beneficial mutations. Some help the virus by altering the shape of the proteins that stud the virus shell, allowing them to grab human cells more effectively. Others help them spread from person to person. Once a flu strain gets established in humans, it can spread around the world and begin to pulsate in a seasonal rise and fall. In places like the United States, most flu cases occur during the winter. According to one hypothesis, this is because the air is dry enough in those months to allow virus-�laden droplets to float in the air for hours, increasing their chances of encountering a new host.

Some scientists had speculated that a virus spread during sex caused cervical cancer. Zur Hausen wondered if cancer-�causing papillomaviruses were the culprit. Zur Hausen reasoned that if this were true, he ought to find virus DNA in cervical tumors. He gathered biopsies to study, and slowly sorted through their DNA for years. In 1983 he discovered genetic material from papillomaviruses in the samples. As he continued to study the biopsies, he found more strains of papillomaviruses. Since zur Hausen first published his discoveries, scientists have identified one hundred different strains of human papillomavirus (or HPV for short).

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