PRETTYMOLECULES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PRETTYMOLECULES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Virus particle infecting a cell, illustration. Viruses consist of a genome (genetic material, yellow spirals) and sometimes a few enzymes stored in a capsule (called a capsid) made of protein, and sometimes covered with a lipid layer (an 'envelope'). Viruses cannot reproduce on their own, and instead propagate by subjugating a host cell to produce copies of themselves. They sabotage the host cell in the process and produce their next generation. This illustration shows a virus particles (centre) binding to a receptor on a host cell and releasing its genetic material (white, lower left) to infect the cell.
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