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Understanding Viruses- Characteristics and Impact on the World

Understanding Viruses- Characteristics and Impact on the World

Assignment: Viruses


After having studied the content of this module, you may be wondering:

  • What group do viruses belong to?
  • Do they belong to the category of bacteria, archaea, or protists?
  • Which shape has?
  • How is your activity?
  • What impact do they have on the world?

Contribute a minimum of 2 pages. It should include at least 2 academic sources, formatted and cited in APA.

Be sure to review the  academic expectations  for your submission.

Submission Instructions:

  • Submit your assignment by 11:59 PM Eastern on Saturday.
  • Review the rubric to determine how your assignment will be graded.
  • Your assignment will be run through TurnItIn to check for plagiarism. Please check your results, make any necessary corrections, and resubmit a revised copy if the system identifies issues


Viruses are a unique group of infectious agents that differ from bacteria, archaea, and protists in several ways. Unlike bacteria and archaea, which are considered cellular organisms, viruses are acellular entities that consist of genetic material (DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein coat called a capsid. They do not possess cellular machinery for metabolism or reproduction and rely on host cells to replicate. Additionally, viruses are much smaller in size compared to bacteria and archaea, with dimensions typically measured in nanometers.


In terms of shape, viruses exhibit a diverse range of morphologies. They can be classified into several shapes, including helical, icosahedral, enveloped, complex, and filamentous. The shape of a virus is determined by the arrangement of its capsid proteins and genetic material. For example, the influenza virus has a spherical shape, while the tobacco mosaic virus has a rod-like structure.

Viruses are highly active entities, despite their simple structure. They exhibit activity by attaching to specific host cells, injecting their genetic material into the host, and hijacking the cellular machinery to replicate. This process often leads to the disruption of normal cellular functions and can cause various diseases in humans, animals, plants, and even bacteria. Some viruses, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the Ebola virus, can cause severe and potentially fatal infections, while others may result in mild symptoms or asymptomatic carriage.

The impact of viruses on the world is profound and multifaceted. On one hand, viruses play essential roles in ecosystems by regulating population sizes, influencing nutrient cycling, and shaping biodiversity. For example, bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, help control bacterial populations in aquatic environments and play a crucial role in maintaining microbial balance. On the other hand, viruses are responsible for numerous infectious diseases that pose significant threats to public health, agriculture, and economies worldwide. Outbreaks of viral diseases, such as influenza pandemics, Ebola outbreaks, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, have highlighted the importance of understanding and combating viral infections.


In conclusion, viruses are unique entities that belong to neither bacteria, archaea, nor protists. They exhibit diverse shapes and have significant impacts on the world, ranging from ecological regulation to causing infectious diseases. Understanding the characteristics and behavior of viruses is essential for developing effective strategies for disease prevention, control, and treatment.

Understanding Viruses- Characteristics and Impact on the World



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