Overview / Introductory Statement

The Viruses of Microorganisms include those infecting members of domain Bacteria (Bacteriophages or Phages), those infecting members of domain Archaea (Archaeal Viruses), and those infecting especially the single-celled members of domain Eukarya, particularly algae and protozoa (Algal or Protozoal Viruses). These viruses, starting with phages, were discovered nearly 100 years ago, and the world has never been the same. Predating routine application of antibiotics by decades, phages served as one of the original antibacterials. They were instrumental in the development of molecular genetics—the study of how information flows from DNA to RNA to proteins—and have been key players in genetic engineering. Together the viruses of microorganisms are the most numerous "organisms" on Earth, perhaps the most diverse, and are crucial contributors to the ecology and evolution of microorganisms. They are key predators of cyanobacteria and therefore substantially impact global warming, climate change, and ocean acidification. Viruses of microorganisms, in short, are important players in ecology, public health, infectious disease, and environmental science. They serve as models for virus evolution and can be used to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Notwithstanding numerous breakthroughs, and Nobel Prizes, there has been little dedicated modern-day support of the study of the viruses of microorganism as an academic discipline, in terms of developmental assistance to phage-based businesses, or facilitation of an accurate public as well as scientific perception of what these organisms are all about. "Microbial Virology" is no different from any other area of science: It cannot exist absent a collective voice espousing its importance to society. This cause is now, finally, being championed by a formal society, the International Society for Viruses of Microorganisms, ISVM. Scientists working together for the betterment of Microbial Virology and its positive global impact on society. But we can't raise the stature of Microbial Virology, in a world of competing priorities, without your support. Please consider joining.