Living virus?

Shaft qmorris at indiana.edu
Wed Sep 2 21:24:14 EST 1998


Agreed, Stefanie.

Let me try and set things straight.

The reason that viruses (viri is not a word) are not considered
living organisms has nothing to do with its dependence on
other organisms for life. Virtually every organism on the
planet requires the presence of other organisms (as food or as
providers of important nutrients). So let's not go that route.

Viruses don't have their OWN cellular machinery. They
depend on a host cell for many elements of DNA and
protein replication. THAT is why viruses are not considered
"alive".

The six or seven kingdoms of life (Animalia, Plantae, Fungi,
Protista, Eubactera, and Archaebacteria) all have something
in common: they all possess their own DNA and RNA
polymerases, ribosomes, and helper molecules.

Viruses lack all of these things (except, in some cases, a
crappy version of DNA polymerase).

I realize it's a convoluted distinction, but that is what most
biologists and biology educators will tell you.

-- shaft

Stefanie Greve wrote:

> Hello!
>
> Your contribution to the discussion was quite interesting to read, but I
> did not really get the point. What did You mean to say? In my opinion,
> the original topic was about something like the definition of life. Did
> I miss anything in the course of the conversation?
>
> Greetings
>
> Stefanie Greve
> Student of Biology (almost done...)




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