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Why are viruses not living organisms

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.

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.

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