Are viruses alive?

Paul E. King paulk at garfield.cs.mun.ca
Thu Jul 23 16:10:08 EST 1992


Yes, but viruses can be isolated from the cell, crystallized into viral
"cakes," separated from all other living things, and be stored indefinitely
at room temperature, where it doesn't do anything: esentially dead.

BUT, these same viruses can be taken out of isolation, palced inside the host,
and is "alive" again (i.e., replicating). 

Viruses are just a hunk of protein with DNA inside it. They are not really
"living things," unless you mean that the ONLY proof of something being alive
is that it is replicating, regardless of the mechanism, or the prescence of
any biological reactions which are unique to it. 
And, as far as I know, viruses are not classified under any of the 5
kingdoms of living things. 

paulk :-)



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