Author Information

Allyssa Richardson


The Achroma virus is a virtual virus invented as a part of the virtual virus project in BIOL 450/Virology during the Fall of 2018. Viruses are tiny, abundant, and diverse packets of genetic material enclosed in a protein capsid. Viruses can infect many different types of life, from plants and animals to bacteria. In order to propagate, viruses need to infect a host cell, and hijack a living cell’s machinery to build more of themselves. Some viruses destroy the host cell in order to release the newly synthesized viruses, a process known as lysis. Lysis is particularly damaging when the target cell of a virus is a cell type that cannot be regenerated after being lysed. A newly described virus, the Achroma virus, targets the photoreceptor cells specific to color vision, also known as the cones, of the human retina. Photoreceptor cells do not divide, which means that any colorblindness caused by viral damage to these cells is permanent (2,4).

Note on the Author

Allyssa Richardson is graduating in Spring 2020 as an Elementary Education and Biology double major. Her project was completed for BIOL450/Virology under the mentorship of Dr. Boriana Marintcheva (Biological Sciences). In the future, Alyssa plans to pursue graduate studies at Bridgewater State University and eventually become a teacher at an elementary school.

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