purpose(?) of viruses

Rob Jordan jordan at mbcrr.harvard.edu
Wed Feb 1 12:09:40 EST 1995


In article <199501301626.AA12958 at wugate.wustl.edu>,
saboteur at BORCIM.WUSTL.EDU wrote:

> rob j wrote:
> >True, probably the most successful virus would be one that could replicate
> >without causing any pathogenesis. Who knows perhaps we are infected with
> >many more viruses than we know.
> 
> Brett L. wrote:
> This reminds me of some current dogma (forgot whose idea) that viruses are
> usually very virulent when they enter a new host population/species, and in
> general become less so with time, so as to preserve their susceptible host 
> population for future generations of viruses.

Along a similar line. I remember reading in Science not too long ago,
several studies that show that the virulence of a virus, whether it be a
bacteriophage, an insect virus, or an animal virus, was directly
proportional to the density of the host population. It seemed that more
virulent viruses were selected for when the population of susceptible
hosts was high.

Rob J

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