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Are viruses alive?

 
 
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2012 09:10 pm
Do you think viruses should be considered alive or not?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 2,141 • Replies: 10
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Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2012 09:13 pm
@Johnshead,
Sure, why not?

As a retired science teacher, you know I can only give you legitimate answers.
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2012 09:19 pm
@Johnshead,
as opposed to the opposite state - inanimate objects - yes.
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edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2012 09:56 pm
Wickipedia:
Opinions differ on whether viruses are a form of life, or organic structures that interact with living organisms. They have been described as "organisms at the edge of life",[56] since they resemble organisms in that they possess genes and evolve by natural selection,[57] and reproduce by creating multiple copies of themselves through self-assembly. Although they have genes, they do not have a cellular structure, which is often seen as the basic unit of life. Viruses do not have their own metabolism, and require a host cell to make new products. They therefore cannot naturally reproduce outside a host cell[58] – although bacterial species such as rickettsia and chlamydia are considered living organisms despite the same limitation.[59][60] Accepted forms of life use cell division to reproduce, whereas viruses spontaneously assemble within cells. They differ from autonomous growth of crystals as they inherit genetic mutations while being subject to natural selection. Virus self-assembly within host cells has implications for the study of the origin of life, as it lends further credence to the hypothesis that life could have started as self-assembling organic molecules.[1]

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rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Feb, 2012 04:09 am
@Johnshead,
This is a tough question. It depends on how you define life. But I would say yes, to me they are alive.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Feb, 2012 08:24 pm
@rosborne979,
And then there is the matter of prions..
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Feb, 2012 08:43 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

And then there is the matter of prions..
Ugh, you had to bring that up Wink I'll have to do some reading and refresh my memory on those things.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Feb, 2012 08:47 pm
Did not know about prions. I have read a few things about them the last few minutes. Will have to study them more.
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Feb, 2012 09:19 pm
@edgarblythe,
To me that's the best thing about a2k... read about things then go check 'em out
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Feb, 2012 09:30 pm
@rosborne979,
careful now... in other threads, this comment could spark an unnecessarily heated debate...
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Feb, 2012 09:36 pm
@thack45,
Yup.
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