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A Planet of Viruses


A Planet of Viruses Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 virusesandmdash;a world that we all inhabit. Here Carl Zimmer, popular science writer and author of Discover magazineandrsquo;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 worldandrsquo;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 andldquo;as fine a science essayist as we have.andrdquo; A Planet of Viruses is sure to please his many fans and further enhance his reputation as one of Americaandrsquo;s most respected and admired science journalists.


About the Author

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 Waterandrsquo;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 #LINK<The Best American Science Writing># and #LINK<The Best American Science and Nature Writing># series.

Table of Contents

Introduction. "A Contagious Living Fluid": Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Old Companions

The Uncommon Cold


Looking Down from the Stars

Influenza Virus

Rabbits with Horns


Everywhere, In All Things

The Enemy of Our Enemy


Oceans of Viruses

Marine Phages

The Infected Genome

Endogenous Retroviruses

The Viral Future

The Young Scourge

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Becoming An American

West Nile Virus

Predicting the Next Plague

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

The Long Goodbye


Epilogue. The Alien in the Watercooler: Mimivirus

Selected references


Product Details

Zimmer, Carl
University of Chicago Press
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
12 color plates
8.5 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Microbiology
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Viruses
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Biology

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