A Planet of Viruses

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Apr 30, 2012 - Medical - 109 pages
28 Reviews

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.

 

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nosajeel - LibraryThing

The Carl Zimmer books I've read get smaller and smaller. First I read Parasite Rex, which as the name suggests, was about parasites. It was a Copernican attempt to remove animals like humans from the ... Read full review

Review: A Planet of Viruses

User Review  - Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors) - Goodreads

An exciting journey into the world of viruses. It was so interesting that it didn't let me hop into some other book,which I do all the time while reading a book. And considering how stupid(not much ... Read full review

Contents

A Contagious Living Fluid Tobacco Mosaic Virus
1
Old Companions
7
Everywhere in All Things
31
The Viral Future
53
The Alien in the Watercooler Mimivirus
89
Acknowledgments
95
Selected References
97
Credits
103
Index
105
Copyright

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About the author (2012)


Carl Zimmer is a lecturer at Yale University, where he teaches writing about science and the environment. He is the author of numerous books, including Microcosm; Parasite Rex; Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea; At the Water’s Edge; and Soul Made Flesh. His numerous essays and articles on the life sciences have appeared in the pages of the New York Times, Scientific American, Discover, Time, Science, Popular Science, and National Geographic. His work has been anthologized in both The Best American Science Writing and The Best American Science and Nature Writing series.

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