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Kinds of Viruses

What different kinds of viruses exist in the world of microbiology? While appearing to be a simple question, it is not one with an obvious answer. The Baltimore system of classification, developed by Nobel Prize winner, David Baltimore, allows us to classify the enormous number of viruses in existence within a few, simple classes.


Class 1: dsDNA
Class 2: ssDNA
Class 3: dsRNA
Class 4: +ssRNA
Class 5: -ssRNA
Class 6: ssRNA-RT
Class 7: dsDNA-RT

The following schedule will help to interpret the above list of virus classifications:

DNA: Deoxy Ribo Nucleic Acid
RNA: Ribo Nucleic Acid
ds: Double Stranded
ss: Single Stranded
+: Sense
-: Antisense
RT: Reverse Transcriptase

The above elements describe the biological makeup of each different virus, attributing a classificationary mechanism to the categorization of viral elements. While there are many ways of sorting out viruses, this system of classification allows us to place the entirety of all viruses into a small categorical system of representation. Other methods of sorting viruses include doing so by the diseases they cause and by the latin taxonomy of the viruses biological makeup.


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