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Evolution: where would we be without viruses

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sven Friedemann.

When Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species went to press in 1859, viruses had yet to be discovered – it would be another 40 years after publication before the ‘concept of viruses’ was proposed, and a century later before breakthroughs in viral research would provide a clear understanding of their genetic make-up, how they replicate and how they cause disease. Perhaps one of the most unexpected findings has been the discovery of the degree to which viruses have been an evolutionary force, as witnessed by the accumulating genetic and immunological evidence of the ancient battles between viruses and their hosts.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Sciences Group series.

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