Are Viruses Living?
ED at molbiol.uct.ac.za
Wed Apr 19 10:11:18 EST 1995
> From: wjohnson <wjohnson at opal.tufts.edu>
> Subject: Re: Are Viruses Living?
> benc9 at aol.com (BenC9) wrote:
> What however, is more central to life (all life) than the processes
> of evolution?All life has in common the use nucleic acid encoded
> information, ...
> Where did viruses come from? More than likely they arose as bits
> of escaped nucleic acid subsequent to the appearance of cellular
> or protocellular life. If viruses are not alive, then we must
> accept that life begat something that was not alive and yet has a
> tremendous capacity to direct its own replication according
> to all the same rules that guide the evolution of living_ species.
Ah, the eternal question....
If you define life as:
"The phenomenon accompanying the replication of informational
then viruses - computer and analogue - are living. If you don't,
then maybe they aren't. One thing you should NOT do is apply the old
botanically- and zoologically-derived definitions, which only
grudgingly take account of unicellular life forms, let alone viruses.
More argument and reasoning in
| Ed Rybicki, PhD | ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za |
| Dept Microbiology | University of Cape Town |
| Private Bag, Rondebosch | 7700, South Africa |
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