A possible definition of life.

Ed Rybicki ed at MOLBIOL.UCT.AC.ZA
Wed Apr 16 10:58:36 EST 1997

> To:            mol-evol at net.bio.net
> From:          campbejr at phu989.mms.sbphrd.com (John R. Campbell)
> Subject:       Re: A possible definition of life.

> On 16 Apr 1997 06:37:22 -0700, "Ed Rybicki" <ed at MOLBIOL.UCT.AC.ZA> wrote:
> >By: mattst at cogs.susx.ac.uk (Matthew Stanfield)
> >> ... [snip]
> >> 
> >> "Life (on Earth) consists of all things built by DNA."
> >
> >Because, Matthew, there are those of us who think viruses - at least 
> >when in their hosts - display the attributes of living things.  And 
> >many viruses have RNA genomes.
> 	Yes, but in order to be replicated these puppies have gotta
> 	be fed through reverse transcriptase (sp?) to generate the
> 	DNA which can *then* be replicated to make the shell, RNA
> 	strands and more reverse transcriptase.
Only if they're a retrovirus - and most RNA viruses replicate 
RNA<----->RNA, NOT RNA----->DNA------>RNA!!!

                     Ed Rybicki, PhD  
      Dept Microbiology     |   ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za   
   University of Cape Town  | rybicki at uctvms.uct.ac.za
   Private Bag, Rondebosch  |  phone: x27-21-650-3265
      7700, South Africa    |   fax: x27-21-689 7573
    WWW URL: http://www.uct.ac.za/microbiology/ed.html      
    "Out here on the perimeter, there are no stars..."

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