Viruses and Nanotechnology

This video, though it does not focus on the particulars of how viruses self assemble, is a nice general overview to supplement the material in the readings. The narrator gives a rather interesting, sarcastic, but down to earth explanation of what viruses are and why they should be considered as nature’s form of nanotechnology. It focuses on the unique features of these not-quite alive microscopic particles, such as their ability to bind to cells, inject their own DNA, and cause diseases in your body as a result (while also corrupting your DNA). Studies have shown that a significant part of the human genome has been encoded by virus-like particles. He claims that viruses are “programmed” for infection in that they take advantage of your own enzymes’ ability to read DNA, and he stresses that viruses by themselves cannot hurt you. He also goes into detail about how your body attempts to fight off these infections, focusing particularly on the interactions between white blood cells and macrophages carrying the virus’ DNA. Overall, this video showcases the typical interactions between the cells in your body and these viruses at the nanoscale.

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