Bacteria and Viruses?

Barbara M. Harris bharris at SPECTRA.NET
Mon Sep 9 22:04:21 EST 1996


At 05:55 PM 9/9/96 -0700, you wrote:
> A question from a non-biologist (who has been reading Stephen Gould's 
>new book, *Full House*). Gould asserts (page 170):
>
>  "...bacteria lie right next to the left wall of minimal conceivable 
>complexity. Life therefore began with a bacterial mode."
>
> My questions:
>
> 1) Are viruses more or less complex than bacteria?
> 2) Are viruses alive?
>
>  
>
>
Arthur,
Viruses are less complex than bacteria.  They do not contain the organelles
(subunits within a cell such as the cell nucleus, mitochondria, golgi
bodies, etc).  Also, they cannot reproduce by simple cell division (mitosis)
as bacteria can.  Viruses can only reproduce within a living cell.  They use
the cell's components to help reproduce themselves.  In reproducing, they
usually destroy the host cell.  They are definitely parasitic. 

Are viruses alive?  Not really, but maybe.  It sounds rather vague and
contradictory, but some people say they are alive & others say not.  

What would really help you would be a basic biology book.  Maybe someone
else on this list can help by suggesting one.  I cannot think of one, off-hand.

I'm sorry I could not be of more help, but I do hope this helps you.  Good
luck.  I'm sure someone else out there will be more comprehensive in
answering your question.
Bye.
Barbara.

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Barbara M. Harris
Vestal, New York
bharris at spectra.net
Fax: (607) 748-9810
Visit the home page of Binghamton's only Pipe & Drum Band at:
http://www.spectra.net/~bharris/pipeband.html

How many permutations can you have with only nine notes?
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