What is life?

Robert Brooksbank rab at sanger.ac.uk
Tue Jun 9 08:52:31 EST 1998

Jay Mone' wrote:
> With my General Biology students, I characterize a living organism as
> one which can extract energy from the environment and use that energy
> in a way beneficial to the organism.  Put another way, living
> organisms metabolize.  This definition excludes viruses, which on
> their own are metabolically inert, depending entirely on redirecting
> host cell metabolism.  This also excludes other "organisms like
> computer viruses, which in many ways are identical to their biological
> counterparts.
> What do you think?

Couldn't you equally be describing a fire?


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