The aim of this module is
1) To introduce the concept that viruses are not “just” the cause of human disease but the most diverse and most abundant (in terms of numbers of individual entities) part of the biosphere.
2) To introduce the scope of viral diversity (the virome) and how little of it is understood.
3) To outline methods used to study viruses and explain how these have and will continue to enable the development of Molecular Biology.
4) To understand the basic mechanisms through which viruses parasitize their hosts.
5) To understand the effect of viruses as a driving force in the evolution of their hosts (a feature common to all parasites, but for which viruses provide particularly good examples) with special reference to bacteria (Restriction / CRISPR) and humans (the retroviral part of the human genome).