The virome in mammalian physiology and disease

Cell. 2014 Mar 27;157(1):142-50. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.02.032.


The virome contains the most abundant and fastest mutating genetic elements on Earth. The mammalian virome is constituted of viruses that infect host cells, virus-derived elements in our chromosomes, and viruses that infect the broad array of other types of organisms that inhabit us. Virome interactions with the host cannot be encompassed by a monotheistic view of viruses as pathogens. Instead, the genetic and transcriptional identity of mammals is defined in part by our coevolved virome, a concept with profound implications for understanding health and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / virology
  • Bacteriophages / classification
  • Bacteriophages / genetics
  • Bacteriophages / physiology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mammals / immunology
  • Mammals / virology*
  • Microbiota*
  • Viruses / classification
  • Viruses / genetics*
  • Viruses / metabolism