Viruses: Essential Agents of Life

  • Günther Witzany

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Miguel Angel Martínez, Gloria Martrus, Elena Capel, Mariona Parera, Sandra Franco, Maria Nevot
    Pages 21-42
  3. Patrick Forterre, Mart Krupovic
    Pages 43-60
  4. Merry Youle, Matthew Haynes, Forest Rohwer
    Pages 61-81
  5. Hanna M. Oksanen, Maija K. Pietilä, Ana Sencilo, Nina S. Atanasova, Elina Roine, Dennis H. Bamford
    Pages 83-105
  6. Luis P. Villarreal
    Pages 107-145
  7. Sébastien Desfarges, Angela Ciuffi
    Pages 147-175
  8. Jean-Michel Claverie, Chantal Abergel
    Pages 187-202
  9. Jonathan Filée, Michael Chandler
    Pages 203-216
  10. Domitille Chalopin, Marta Tomaszkiewicz, Delphine Galiana, Jean-Nicolas Volff
    Pages 269-282
  11. Rachael E. Tarlinton
    Pages 283-291
  12. Alessia Armezzani, Lita Murphy, Thomas E. Spencer, Massimo Palmarini, Frédérick Arnaud
    Pages 293-307
  13. Andrew B. Conley, I. King Jordan
    Pages 309-323
  14. Philippe Pérot, Pierre-Adrien Bolze, François Mallet
    Pages 325-361
  15. Omar Bagasra, Muhammad Sheraz, Donald Gene Pace
    Pages 363-388
  16. Back Matter
    Pages 421-427

About this book


A renaissance of virus research is taking centre stage in biology. Empirical data from the last decade indicate the important roles of viruses, both in the evolution of all life and as symbionts or co-evolutionary partners of host organisms. There is increasing evidence that all cellular life is colonized by exogenous and/or endogenous viruses in a non-lytic but persistent lifestyle. Viruses and viral parts form the most numerous genetic matter on this planet.

Viruses have long been considered as disease causing pathogens with often epidemic consequences and major enemies of living organisms. Viruses are now considered to play major roles in the evolution of life. Because they have genes that are not found in any cellular organism they seem to be remnants of early stages of life on earth. Besides their disease causing features and actions as genetic parasites viruses have lifestyles that are clearly symbiotic and even symbiogenetic. Increasing empirical data suggest that some viruses such as endogenous retroviruses and non-retroviral RNA viruses and even DNA viruses prefer cellular genomes as habitat. They determine genetic host (group) identity and genetic host features. Viruses and virus-related modules such as mobile genetic elements and other repeat sequences identified in intronic regions of host genomes play important roles in gene regulation and genetic content (re)arrangement. This book exemplifies some astonishing key features of viruses acting as essential agents of life.


persistence of viruses viral infection driven evolution of cellular life virus abundance virus life styles virus parts as regulation models of cellular genes

Editors and affiliations

  • Günther Witzany
    • 1
  1. 1.Telos - Philosophische PraxisBürmoosAustria

Bibliographic information