IUBio

Is a virus alive?

Karl Roberts kr1 at PGSTUMAIL.PG.CC.MD.US
Mon Feb 3 14:23:08 EST 1997


Dear Russ,
	This is subject to much debate. A virus has some of the 
characteristics of living things (i.e. nucleic acid, protein coat), but 
cannot undergo metabolic processes or replicate independent of a host 
cell, which has all of necessary components for viral assembly.  I tend 
to think of viruses as "biological entities", but not as living organisms 
per se... I hope others reply and give you their slant on this as well. 
Bye for now,
Joe

On Sat, 1 Feb 1997, R. BAKER wrote:

> Is a virus a living organism or not???  A virus can reproduce only in a 
> host cell and must rely on the host cell's metabolism.  What constitues a 
> virus as alive or non-living????
> russ
> 



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