I've been watching the discussion on whether viruses are alive or not
(actually, I asked the question!), and noted that the topic of prions wer=
also introduced. I agree that a prion should not be called "alive", becau=
that argument would be futile - you'd have to see every protein as an
organism! I rather think of prions as organic molecules whose precise
origin and function has not been determined yet, but will be eventually.
Staying on this topic: would the "deadness" of a prion not also infer tha=
state on a virus? Afterall, the virus only replicates when associated wit=
a host, not all by itself. So the extracellular virus is also dead? Or is
it just latent? I don't think it's latent because we can only call it tha=
when it has the capacity to rapidly and unexpectedly start to replicate
(and that mostly happens only after insertion into the host genome).
The discussion completed another circle...