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The Viruses

  • Aleardo Zaccheo
  • Eleonora Palmaccio
  • Morgan Venable
  • Isabella Locarnini-Sciaroni
  • Salvatore Parisi
Chapter

Abstract

Viruses are probably the oldest, smallest, and certainly the most numerous and diverse organisms on Earth. Although they generate a general “sentiment of fear and loathing”, all living organisms are “linked by their universal ability to be infected by viruses”, but viruses are not just pathogens, because Viruses also controls pathogens by keeping “fast- growing bacterial populations” in check. Besides exerting a major “selective pressure on all life forms” viruses “shape the evolution of other organisms” by driving and testing the immune systems, where they increase their own reproductive fitness by boosting host fitness. Viruses are capable to “exert indirect evolutionary pressures on ecosystems”, but are “major drivers of global biochemical cycles” and “multitrophic symbioses”.

Keywords

Virus Bacteriophage Phages Prokaryotes Genomes Lateral and horizontal gene transfer Biochemical cycles Endosymbiotic bacteria Multitrophic symbioses 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleardo Zaccheo
    • 1
  • Eleonora Palmaccio
    • 1
  • Morgan Venable
    • 2
  • Isabella Locarnini-Sciaroni
    • 3
  • Salvatore Parisi
    • 4
  1. 1.bioethica food safety engineering sagl.Lugano-PregassonaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Consultant Registered DieticianMedegliaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Salumificio Sciaroni S.A.SementinaSwitzerland
  4. 4.Industrial ConsultantPalermoItaly

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