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"living" viruses

Rod Pennington OKIEROD at UKCC.UKY.EDU
Mon Jan 23 20:21:41 EST 1995

From: Denni Schnapp <ds4 at st-andrews.ac.uk>

"I agree with what you said in your posting (life is due to self directed
replication of nucleic acids), but why should this definition be re-
stricted to nucleic acids? What about self directed replication in
general (i.e. computer viruses are also alive in a similar sense)?"

In which case we are looking at a replicating set of information
or instructions.  This reminds me of reading that chain letters
can be looked at as viral in nature. A chain letter is, like a virus,
a set of information/instructions which requires a host for replication.
A chain letter's host is the human mind (as opposed to the organic brain,
per se).  Chain letters can undergo mutation (ie, typos,etc.) which
alters chain letter "fitness" (defined in terms of the chain letter's
ability to infect new hosts).

Anyway, it seemed like an interesting idea.  I cannot remember where
I saw this discussed.  Perhaps it was here on the Virology list.

Rod Pennington
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Kentucky
okierod at ukcc.uky.edu

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