Quick post: Viruses – don’t forget about the viruses

OK OK.  Everyone, everywhere keeps telling me “Viruses – don’t forget about the viruses” whenever I talk about microbial communities or discuss work we are doing in my lab.  Yes, I say “I know, I know” but then I panic and think “We can’t even deal with the diversity of bacteria and archaea out there.  We generally ignore the microbial eukaryotes.  How the hell are we going to include viruses too?”  But, in the end, if we are going to study microBIOMEs (as in, ecosystems that include viruses), then, well, we need to include all the players.

(I note – as I am writing this, my son asked me what I am doing and I said I am writing about viruses.  He got excited and sad “Write about Ebola”).

What got me on my viral kick today?  Well, I have been thinking about viruses a lot recently.  And then I saw this paper: The ISME Journal – Diversity of viral photosystem-I psaA genes.  And it reminded me of the largely unknown diversity of viruses out there in the world.

Anyway – I was going to write a longer post about viruses, but I have to go and do something with my son.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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