another defini post

Steve G. Kayes kayes at SUNGCG.USOUTHAL.EDU
Fri Mar 31 11:07:49 EST 1995


In response to Charles question as to how long a parasite must be 
associated with a particular host before it becomes a commensal, ...

	This seems to me that we have already forgotten the discussion 
earlier this year regarding *virulence*.  The dogma being questioned at 
the time was do parasites evolve towards less virulence.  Ewald (even 
though Derek was not impressed) would argue that some parasites might 
evolve which are highly virulent (Read *Hot Zone* for example).  
Personally, I think that the working definition of a parasite found in 
text books <organisms including round and flat worms, and protozoans> 
leaves much to be desired because whether we admit it or not, this is 
tantamount to saying that a parasite is what a parasitologists says it 
is.  It also begs the question of what are intracellular bacteria, 
prions, spiroplasmas, and even more complicating of the question, what 
are viruses.  

	Derek's offer of using endosymbiont is not a good idea.  This 
word literally implies living within.  What about living attached 
outside.  Are barnacles parasites?

	Maybe a parasite is an organism that takes from another.  What is 
taken should be left vague and so too, should the rate at which it is 
taken.  The is rate is only slower than a predator's rate of take which 
is kill and consume at the spur of the moment.  After all the word 
parasite, literally means to sit at the table's side.

Steve

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