The time seems ripe for a critical compendium of that segment of the biological universe we call viruses. Virology, as a science, having only recently passed through its descriptive phase of naming and num bering, has probably reached that stage at which relatively few new~ truly new~viruses will be discovered. Triggered by the intellectual probes and techniques of molecular biology, genetics, biochemical cytology, and high-resolution microscopy and spectroscopy, the field has experienced a genuine information explosion. Few serious attempts have so far been made to chronicle these events. This comprehensive series, which will comprise some 6000 pages in a total of about 22 volumes, represents a commitment by a large group of active investigators to analyze, digest, and expostulate on the great mass of data relating to viruses, much of which is now amorphous and disjointed and scattered throughout a wide literature. In this way, we hope to place the entire field in perspective as well as to develop an invaluable reference and sourcebook for researchers and students at all levels. This series is designed as a continuum that can be entered anywhere but which also provides a logical progression of developing facts and integrated concepts.