Viral Biodiversity and Evolution


We live in a virus world. The most dominant entity on the planet is viruses. It is said that if we were to put end-to-end every virus that we suspect exists on the planet, we would reach a distance of 42 million light years. Viruses are the ultimate parasites but also play a unique role in remodeling genomes of the hosts they infect. Viruses hold a special fascination, as exemplified in books and movies on fatal human infections. But the virosphere is even more diverse than what the public is usually exposed to in the media. Through a combination of lecture and discussion of the scientific literature, this course will survey the diversity that exists in the virosphere, including the latest virus discoveries. The course will cover principles of virus evolution, emergence of novel strains, adaptation to new hosts, and transmission dynamics.

Format: Lecture

Prerequisites: MCB1 (BIOL-UA 21)

Corequisites: None

Location: New York

Equivalent(s): None


Term(s) offered:

Requirements satisfied:
  • Major: Biology Standard Track
      • Upper-Level Elective
          • Reasoning Skills
          • Advanced Biology
  • Major: Ecology Track
      • Upper-Level Elective
          • Reasoning Skills
          • Advanced Biology
  • Major: GPH/Biology
      • Emphasis-Area Elective
          • Infectious Diseases
      • Additional Elective