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Ch 30: Virus Structure & Life Cycle for the MCAT: Help and Review

About This Chapter

The Viral Structure and Life Cycle chapter of this Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) Help and Review course is the simplest way to master viruses. This chapter uses simple and fun videos that are about five minutes long, plus lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to ensure students learn the essentials of viral structures and life cycles.

Who's it for?

Anyone who needs help preparing for the science section of the MCAT exam will benefit from taking this course. You will be able to grasp the subject matter faster, retain critical knowledge longer and earn better grades. You're in the right place if you:

  • Have fallen behind in understanding how viruses are classified or the methods they use to grow and replicate.
  • Need an efficient way to learn about viral structures and life cycles.
  • Learn best with engaging auditory and visual tools.
  • Struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD.
  • Experience difficulty understanding your teachers.
  • Missed class time and need to catch up.
  • Can't access extra MCAT science preparation resources at school.

How it works:

  • Start at the beginning, or identify the topics that you need help with.
  • Watch and learn from fun videos, reviewing as needed.
  • Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
  • Submit questions to one of our instructors for personalized support if you need extra help.
  • Verify you're ready by completing the Viral Structure and Life Cycle chapter exam.

Why it works:

  • Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Use the Viral Structure and Life Cycle chapter exam to be prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any relevant question. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.

Students will review:

In this chapter, you'll learn the answers to questions including:

  • What is the definition of a virus?
  • What shapes do viruses take?
  • How are viruses classified?
  • How do DNA and RNA viruses replicate?
  • What causes viruses to mutate?
  • How do viruses attack, replicate and survive during their life cycles?
  • How do the lytic and lysogenic cycles of bacteriophage differ?
  • What diseases are associated with the Retroviridae family of viruses?

10 Lessons in Chapter 30: Virus Structure & Life Cycle for the MCAT: Help and Review
What Are Viruses? - Definition, Structure & Function

1. What Are Viruses? - Definition, Structure & Function

In this lesson, you'll learn some historical facts about viruses and the material they are composed of. Find out more as we review the capsid, nucleic acids, the viral envelope, viruses, virions, bacteriophages and virology.

Shapes of a Virus: Helical, Icosahedral, Prolate, Complex & Enveloped

2. Shapes of a Virus: Helical, Icosahedral, Prolate, Complex & Enveloped

Learn about the different shapes viruses can have, such as helical, icosahedral, prolate, complex and enveloped. Find out why one shape is particularly useful from an energetic standpoint.

Classification of Viruses: Viral Genome and Replication Scheme

3. Classification of Viruses: Viral Genome and Replication Scheme

Find out how viruses are classified based on their being double-stranded, single-stranded, positive-sense, negative-sense, or by having something called reverse transcriptase.

Replication of DNA Viruses

4. Replication of DNA Viruses

This lesson will give you a basic overview of how DNA viruses replicate inside of a host cell. We will cover the entry, integration, replication and release of DNA viruses.

Replication of RNA Viruses

5. Replication of RNA Viruses

This lesson will give you a basic overview of how different types of RNA viruses replicate inside of an animal cell. We will cover the essence of being double-stranded and retroviruses, as well as positive-and negative-sense RNA viruses.

How Viruses Mutate: Antigenic Drift and Antigenic Shift

6. How Viruses Mutate: Antigenic Drift and Antigenic Shift

This lesson will discuss the major ways by which viruses, notably the flu virus, mutates. We will talk about recombination, reassortment, antigenic drift, antigenic shift, and more!

The Life Cycle of a Virus: How Viruses Live, Attack & Replicate

7. The Life Cycle of a Virus: How Viruses Live, Attack & Replicate

Find out how viruses infect and replicate as we explore the important steps of the virus life cycle, including attachment, uncoating, penetration, replication, and release, as well as the lysogenic and lytic cycles.

Viruses: Bacteriophage Lytic and Lysogenic Cycles

8. Viruses: Bacteriophage Lytic and Lysogenic Cycles

Viruses are generally not only our enemy but also the enemy of many other organisms. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect specific bacteria. In this lesson, we'll discuss their basic structure and infection cycle.

HIV and AIDS: Mechanisms and Diseases of the Retroviridae Virus Family

9. HIV and AIDS: Mechanisms and Diseases of the Retroviridae Virus Family

Learn about one of the most famous viruses in the world: HIV. We'll also delve into a condition you've almost certainly heard of: AIDS. Finally, we'll discuss the mechanisms of how viruses in this family cause so much damage and if there's anything you can do about it.

Non-Cellular Life: Definition & Examples

10. Non-Cellular Life: Definition & Examples

The idea of non-cellular life has been confusing scientists for almost 100 years. Read on to learn more about what non-cellular life is and the major, recent discovery that has turned this century-old debate on its head.

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Other Chapters

Other chapters within the MCAT Prep: Help and Review course

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