History And Terminology Essay

1426 words - 6 pages

Virology BSCI 437: Lecture 1Impact: It is important to study viruses because:Many important infectious diseases that afflict humankind are caused by viruses. These can be fatal, uncomfortable and very contagious, cause congenital defects, or carcinogenic.Viruses can also affect the food supply, infecting crop plants and food animals.The relatively simple nature of viruses makes them useful as model systems for many of the basic problems in biology.History:Evidence of viral diseases in humans date back to 1500 BC: Polio, Smallpox, Rabies. (Figure of Egyptian Polio, fig. 1.1., Tulip Mosaic Virus, Smallpox, 1.3)The existence of viruses became evident at the end of the 19th century. The newly acquired expertise in handling of bacteria led to the germ theory of disease.Viruses are Small!Ultrafiltration methods made it clear that the causative agents of some diseases were even smaller than bacteria. (Filters figure, 1.6)Infection by ultrafiltrate: The first example of this was demonstrated by Iwanowski with Tobacco Mosaic Virus (1892), followed by Loeffler and Frosch with Foot and Mouth Disease (1898).In 1898, Beijerinck introduced the term "virus" (Latin for "poison") to the literature. The term "Virus" became the operational definition of particulate infectious agents that are smaller than bacteria and which are unable to multiply outside of living cells.In 1911, Rous discovered a virus that produced malignant tumors in chickens (Rous Sarcoma Virus). This "Oncovirus' turns out to be the first Retrovirus discovered.Discovery of new viruses was very rapid.During the next 25 years, virology diverged into three areas: Plants, bacteriophages and animal viruses.The ability to isolate large amounts of viruses from plants permitted extensive chemical and physical analyses, eg:The first demonstration that viruses consisted of proteins and nucleic acids.The crystallization of TMV by Stanley (1935) was a paradigm shift in that it demonstrated that agents able to reproduce in living cells could also behave like macromolecules.Bacteriphage research initially focused on the hypothesis that these viruses could be used for antibacterial therapies, i.e. that they could be injected into people to destroy bacteria inside of the body. Although this proved to be untenable, this work set the technological foundation for molecular biology as we know it. Examples include the discovery that nucleic acids are the molecules of genetic inheritance (Hershey & Chase 1952, also credit Oswald, MacLeod and McCarthy, 1944), the first model systems for DNA replication (M13), control of gene expression and recombination (λ), discovery of mRNA, the elucidation of the factors that control initiation and termination of both transcription and translation of genetic information, and the discovery of restriction endonucleases.Animal virus research concentrated on the pathogeneis of viral infections and epidemiology. The need to study animal viruses spurred the development of...

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