In 2020, an invisible germ—a virus—wholly upended our lives. We’re most familiar with the viruses that give us colds or Covid-19. 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 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 deep caves miles underground.
Fully revised and updated, with new illustrations and a new chapter about coronaviruses and the spread of Covid-19, this third edition of Carl Zimmer’s A Planet of Viruses pulls back the veil on this hidden world. It 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 as long as life endures.
Table of contents
“A Contagious Living Fluid”: Tobacco Mosaic Virus and the Discovery of the Virosphere
The Uncommon Cold: How Rhinoviruses Gently Conquered the World
Looking Down from the Stars: Influenza’s Never-Ending Reinvention
Rabbits with Horns: Human Papillomavirus and Infectious Cancer
Everywhere, In All Things
The Enemy of Our Enemy: Bacteriophages as Viral Medicine
The Infected Ocean: How Marine Phages Rule the Sea
Our Inner Parasites: Endogenous Retroviruses and Our Virus-Riddled Genomes
The Viral Future
The Young Scourge: Human Immunodeficiency Virus and the Animal Origins of Diseases
Becoming an American: The Globalization of West Nile Virus
The Pandemic Age: Why COVID-19 Should Have Come as No Surprise
The Long Goodbye: The Delayed Oblivion of Smallpox
The Alien in the Water Cooler: Giant Viruses and What It Means to Be a Virus
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