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Physical Virology

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A post by Manuel Sánchez, host of the Spanish blog, Curiosidades de al Microbiologia, on an article entitled "Physical Virology " that appeared in Nature Phyisics, discuses the ideas and potential of a new discipline that studies viruses from a physical perspective.

"Viruses are able to spontaneously assemble into icosahedra that enclose their genetic material, and do so in an environment, such as the cytoplasm of the host cells, that is loaded with similar molecules. This process takes place without an external source of energy, that is it follows the thermodynamic laws of reversible self-assembly. But there is one fundamental difference: once assembled, the capsid does not disassemble. For this reason, viruses are a good model for studying the formation of nanostructures that require only minimal energy expenditure."

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