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living or non-living?

Living! 0.46428571428571 46.4% [ 39 ]
Non-living! 0.53571428571429 53.6% [ 45 ]
Total Votes:[ 84 ]
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I have no clue, but they look creepy as ********.
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Ok, as said before the problem here is "life"'s definition itself. According to its most elemental definition you could say a being that "nourishes itself, reproduces and interacts with the media around it" is alive.

According to this definition a virus only reproduces itself and so it's not alive. Those are the current standards.


However I would say it's alive. First of all because I believe it has some sort of media interaction relating how they change their cycle from lysogenic (inactive) to lytic (active) when things get tough, even if the nourishing question is harder to answer. Second because that is a very simple definition of life and perhaps we should redefine it.

I don't think the fact of being organic equals something as alive. Most food is organic. Also parasites use hosts and they are alive, so I think it would qualify as sort of a parasite. As far as I know crystals don't parasite people and engines don't interact with each other and reproduce on their own.

So in short, I think the base definition is limiting us to qualify a being that otherwise would be alive. We should redefine life since the standards are outdated.
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Greedy Consumer

like rna perhaps they are an extension to life. They do spread however, and are parasitic, I dotn see how they arent living. They are like little living robots.
PUSS KING's avatar

Hygienic Gawker

It's not a manner of opinion, they're non-living. The only reason people think they're living is because they're composed of biological molecules, but then so is milk.
I'd just like to firstly say that I think writing your paper based on your question is a great idea because opinions differ between virologists when faced with this question!

I believe that viruses are essentially non-'living - reasons being':

1) viruses are intracellular parasites; can only survive within a host cell whilst utilising the cells nucleic acids

2) they do not possess respiratory or other complex metabolic pathways typical of living organisms

3) very few genes to transcribe - usually into proteins or enzymes e.g. reverse transcriptase

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Greedy Consumer

Normalcyphobic
By scientific definition non-living, and I agree with that. They are dependent on cells and can't do much on their own. But they are genius for the very reason that they have the ability to hijack a cell's biological processes and turn them to their own use - and yet are not even alive.
mosquitoes r dependant on blood, and cant do much on their own.
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Greedy Consumer

i say its an ancient form of life. bugs r coated in proteins too doesnt mean they arent alive.
Fabadozer
Vannak
Fabadozer
I think they're living as there's one thing I don't get about them. How can they infect certain things and do all sorts of different things without a brain?
well I mean bacteria do the same thing, no? And they also function with out a brain.

The way that viruses work is that they're usually specific to a certain type of organism (It could be a specific species or genus or more specialized group). Once a virus infects a cell all that happens afterwards comes down to chemistry. The infecting virus places a strand of RNA which inserts itself into the cells DNA automatically. We could just as easily use a needle but viruses usually latch onto a receptor of a cell wall or membrane (like the pores which let in and out materials). Once that RNA is inside the rest of the virus is unimportant. The RNA has instructions to build more viruses, and the cell does what the DNA/RNA inside tells it to do.

A virus really only does two things: Find a cell and stick additional instructions inside. Those instructions can be complicated but all in all it's just a molecule.


I know what your saying, but I've never really gotten how something can function and perform tasks without a brain or something like that...
I mean, when we're talking about viruses they really don't have functions or preforms tasks. All a virus is is just a bunch of protein that holds RNA when it's not connected to a cell, and releases it when it finds a receptor. I mean a virus is really only different from a can of spray paint in that it's more selective in how exactly you need to push the nozzle.
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Vannak
Fabadozer
I think they're living as there's one thing I don't get about them. How can they infect certain things and do all sorts of different things without a brain?
well I mean bacteria do the same thing, no? And they also function with out a brain.

The way that viruses work is that they're usually specific to a certain type of organism (It could be a specific species or genus or more specialized group). Once a virus infects a cell all that happens afterwards comes down to chemistry. The infecting virus places a strand of RNA which inserts itself into the cells DNA automatically. We could just as easily use a needle but viruses usually latch onto a receptor of a cell wall or membrane (like the pores which let in and out materials). Once that RNA is inside the rest of the virus is unimportant. The RNA has instructions to build more viruses, and the cell does what the DNA/RNA inside tells it to do.

A virus really only does two things: Find a cell and stick additional instructions inside. Those instructions can be complicated but all in all it's just a molecule.


I know what your saying, but I've never really gotten how something can function and perform tasks without a brain or something like that...
I think the only relevant thing to speak of being alive are things that have sentience, like humans and animals. Everything can be said to have life, for everything changes, and everything has a beginning and end.
Fabadozer
I think they're living as there's one thing I don't get about them. How can they infect certain things and do all sorts of different things without a brain?
well I mean bacteria do the same thing, no? And they also function with out a brain.

The way that viruses work is that they're usually specific to a certain type of organism (It could be a specific species or genus or more specialized group). Once a virus infects a cell all that happens afterwards comes down to chemistry. The infecting virus places a strand of RNA which inserts itself into the cells DNA automatically. We could just as easily use a needle but viruses usually latch onto a receptor of a cell wall or membrane (like the pores which let in and out materials). Once that RNA is inside the rest of the virus is unimportant. The RNA has instructions to build more viruses, and the cell does what the DNA/RNA inside tells it to do.

A virus really only does two things: Find a cell and stick additional instructions inside. Those instructions can be complicated but all in all it's just a molecule.
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I think they're living as there's one thing I don't get about them. How can they infect certain things and do all sorts of different things without a brain?
they propagate themselves though the use of their own energy. That's close enough to alive for me.
Normalcyphobic
By scientific definition non-living, and I agree with that. They are dependent on cells and can't do much on their own. But they are genius for the very reason that they have the ability to hijack a cell's biological processes and turn them to their own use - and yet are not even alive.

Textbook.
By scientific definition non-living, and I agree with that. They are dependent on cells and can't do much on their own. But they are genius for the very reason that they have the ability to hijack a cell's biological processes and turn them to their own use - and yet are not even alive.

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