Explore BrainMass

Why are viruses not living organisms

This content was STOLEN from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!

Viruses are typically not classified as true living organisms by biologists. Viruses have DNA or RNA and protein but are not able to replicate until they infect a host cell. Within the cell, they must use the enzymes and molecular building blocks the host cell provides for replicating. Viruses cause disease in all living organisms and they are able to persist outside the cell for extended periods until they can once again infect a suitable host cell.

With this being said, I need to answer the question of Why viruses are different than True Living Microorganisms since they infect the same as any other pathogen that causes disease. Live and obtain the necessary nutrients they need from their hosts but still are not classified as true living organisms. Would like a contrasting view point with at least 4 things that separate them. Also, provide good references to where you found information. I will be using this information to create a power point presentation.

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 25, 2018, 10:10 am ad1c9bdddf

Solution Preview

The first paragraph of your question perfectly states the difference all in itself. In a nutshell, viruses lack so many mechanisms of life and rely so much on the host that they can't possibly thrive on their own. When I was in grad school, one of the professors said that viruses were just "sophisticated proteins" and that is quite true (although some virologists may disagree). Here are some of the things that support the statement. Most of these are explained in great detail in this article, which I highly suggest that you read and try to understand: Moreira, D., & López-García, P. (2009). Ten reasons to exclude viruses from the tree of life. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 7(4), 306-311. This reference cites other papers which you can follow and review those primary literature.

1. Other microbial pathogens such as bacteria, protozoa and parasites can perform ...

Solution Summary

We discuss reasons why some scientists do not consider viruses true living organisms.

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Biotechnology Living Organism Processes


Biotechnology allows the use of living organisms or their processes for human needs or purposes. Currently, this topic includes such general examples as cloning, stem cells (adult, umbilical cord, and embryonic), DNA fingerprinting, biological warfare, bioremediation, genetically modified organisms, vaccines, and transgenic plants and animals to name a few. In this assignment, you will explore specific examples of biotechnology applications.

Assignment details

Part 1

Biotechnology is the use of a living thing or any part of a living thing to make a product or process that improves human life. For this assignment, discuss the following:
•What are some of the examples of biotechnology that have made improvements to your life?
•Describe how 1 of these has made your life better.

Part 2

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved food derived from cloned animals. In addition, these products will not need to be labeled as "cloned" or "from clones" (Black, 2008). The FDA explains that you will not be eating the clone itself. It takes thousands of dollars to clone a food animal such as a cow or pig. Animals that are cloned for improved food production will be used for a breeding program to produce many offspring with the desirable traits for increased meat or milk yield. These offspring of the clones will be fair game for food. Discuss the following:
•Do you think there are differences between a clone and a "normal" animal?
•How do you feel about eating a cloned animal?
•Is your opinion of eating a cloned plant different?

View Full Posting Details