Our Viral Future: Video of My Recent Talk

I recently gave a talk in San Francisco about the future of viruses, based in part on my book, A Planet of Viruses. I talk about how deadly new outbreaks may emerge, how we may harness viruses for technology and medicine, and just how many viruses there are out there (hint: 10000000000000000000000000000000).

Author Carl Zimmer: Our Viral Future from Singularity Institute on FORA.tv

2 thoughts on “Our Viral Future: Video of My Recent Talk

  1. Carl,

    I enjoyed your talk about the future of viruses, as well as your book ‘A Planet of Viruses.’
    In a comment to a review of your book in Nature by Robin Weiss, I asked: “What is a virus Dr. Weiss?” (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v474/n7351/full/474279a.html?wt.ec_id=nature-20110616).

    This question has its roots in a paper I published almost three decades ago in the Journal of Theoretical Biology (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6672474) in which I outlined the scientific and academic constrains associated with the dogma of viruses as virus particles, and proposed a new model for the origin and nature of viruses (an open access update of this model is available at: http://precedings.nature.com/documents/3886/version/1).

    Given you interest and fascination with viruses, I wonder what do you think about the comment and about the alternative paradigm on the nature and evolutionary origin of viruses?

  2. Carl,

    I understand that you cannot address many of the questions and issues posted in comments to your posts. However, considering your huge interest in viruses, I ‘m rather surprised that you are not interested in discussing a fundamental issue about the nature of viruses: the dogma of viruses as virus particles, which is probably one of the most enduring misconception in the history of biology.

    Indeed, for over a century, viruses have been conceptually identified with their viral particles and defined based on the physical, biochemical and biological properties of these particles, which misrepresent the nature of viruses and constrains the thinking about their origins and evolution.

    It is relevant to point out that after decades of neglect, there is increasing interest on this issue among the scientists working in the field; see, for example, these articles written by Jean-Michel Claverie (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16787527), Patrick Forterre (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20551688) and Didier Raoult (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18311164).

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