Key Concepts and Learning Objectives
- All viruses consist of a protein capsid that surrounds the genetic material, namely DNA or RNA.
- Viruses can be classified based on a number of characteristics, including the presence of an envelope, their geometric structure, type of genome, and mode of replication.
- Different viruses infect different organisms, called hosts; they may cause disease in some hosts and not others.
- Viruses that spill over from an animal to humans and cause disease are called zoonotic pathogens.
After completing this activity, students should be able to:
- Develop visual models to compare and contrast viruses that are often mentioned in the news or used in research.
- Use evidence to justify the claim that a variety of viruses exists and each type of virus has unique characteristics.
- Construct mathematical models using scales and units to illustrate the diversity in the size of viruses.