Study Guide

Microorganisms: Viruses Introduction

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Microorganisms: Viruses Introduction

Microorganisms—Prions, Viruses, and Viroids, Oh My!

Almost anytime there is a panic over a worldwide epidemic that will wipe out humanity, the culprit is usually among the tiniest replicating organisms on Earth: viruses. We use the word "organism" loosely here because many argue about whether viruses are indeed living organisms, or whether they are all part of an Illuminati conspiracy. But, those are usually the same types of people who say that Ho-Ho's are bad for you. Dad ate Ho-Ho's everyday, and he lived to the ripe old age of 37.

It is amazing how frequently we talk about viruses. We are scared of virus epidemics like "bird flu," "swine flu," "Bieber Fever," or "SARS." We often refer to online videos going "viral," or we refer to an attack by a computer "virus," but what exactly does the term "virus" mean in all of these instances? What it means is that you should stop opening those emails your uncle sends you, no matter how cheap the deal on Viagra is.

Microorganisms: Viruses Resources


International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses
If you ever wanted an up-to-date list of what virus belongs in what family, check out the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

RNA Virus Database
Throw yourself a party at the RNA Virus Database, complete with BLAST balloons and sequence alignment party favors.

No, it's not a ripoff of Hertz car rental service. Take Internet surfing to a whole new level while sifting through some human endogenous retrovirus database entries.

Virology Journal
The slogan is "All the Virology on the WWW," which is pretty self-explanatory. The real question is, can we forgive the Comic Sans?

Viral Zone
The SIB, or Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, provides more information than you would ever need to know about different viruses.

Centers for Disease Control
With all this talk about viral infection, how could we not link to the good ol' CDC?

Phage Biology and Phage Therapy
Check out all the latest...phage news.

Kids With Cancer
A site with lots of resources and information about childhood cancers.

Understanding Cancer
Here's a great resource from the Mesothelioma Group.


We heard you wanted a podcast about viruses. Presenting: This Week in Virology.


The Big Picture Book of Viruses
It's like an All-You-Can-Eat buffet of...virus pictures. Seriously though, these virus images are pretty crazy...looking.

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