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aC, complex; H, helical; I, icosahedral. Source: Based in part on Voyles (2002).

aC, complex; H, helical; I, icosahedral. Source: Based in part on Voyles (2002).

Lytic infection kills the host cell. With temperate viruses, after entering the host cell the genome inserts itself into a host chromosome. In that way, it is replicated as the host cell grows and divides. Eventually, it may direct the formation of new virions and cause lysis of the cell, but this may be only after many generations.

Viruses are the cause of many important plant and animal diseases. They may be spread through contact, food, water, and/or air. Among humans, they are responsible for the common cold, influenza, polio, herpes, hepatitis, measles, smallpox, and AIDS, among many others. Viruses also have been implicated as factors in a number of types of cancer.

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