> From: "Mike O'Hara" <mohara at ihug.co.nz>
> Subject: what is alive?
> Carrying on from the original question (are viruses alive) and looking
> at Mario Vaneechoutte's definition, how do people feel about 'alive' for
> the BSE agent. At this stage it looks to be a variant protein form that
> perpetuates its structure by altering non-variant forms (the ultimate in
> political conversions). One would have to suppose that the variant form
> arose in some way and has since perpetuated itself.
For me, it's simple: it's not replicating; like fire, it is simply
propagating a chemical reaction which varies according to its
substrate; therefore, it is not alive.
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..."