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Viruses as Organisms

eestrauss eestrauss at osprey.smcm.edu
Wed Jan 24 08:18:09 EST 1996

In article <m0tedkN-0003SzC at uctmail.uct.ac.za>
ED at MOLBIOL.UCT.AC.ZA ("Ed Rybicki") writes:

> Perhaps the simple inclusion of Luria et al.'s qualifier - 
> "...potentially pathogenic" - serves to distinguish them adequately.
> (As in: "Viruses have been defined as [potentially pathogenic]
> entities whose genomes are elements of nucleic acid that replicate
> inside living cells using the cellular synthetic machinery, and cause
> the synthesis of specialised elements [virions] that can transfer the
> genome to other cells" S Luria et al., Virology, 3rd Edn)

What does "pathogenic" mean? Does this mean that plant cryptic viruses
(which seem to cause no symptoms in their hosts) are not viruses? How
about the various fungal "viruses" (such as the hypovirulence
associated virus from the chestnu blight fungus) which don't have
protein coats and are not transmitted extracellularly? 
I think that there are a number of things which are quite hard to put
into human defined catagories....

Ethan Strauss	
Biology Instructor
St. Mary's College of Maryland
St. Mary's City, MD   20686
eestrauss at osprey.smcm.edu

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