Share
Explore BrainMass

Are Viruses Alive?

Argue for or against the statement, "Viruses are alive." As before this is not an opinion question. State your position clearly: Yes, No or Don't Know and support your position with what you know about cells, living things and viruses.

The internal structure of many protists is much more complex than that of cells of multicellular organisms. Does this mean that the protist is engaged in more complex activities than the multicellular organism?

If not, why should the single celled protist be much more complicated?

It might be a good idea to think about the environment of a singled celled organism and compare that to the environment a cell is in as part of a multicellular organism.

Solution Preview

Hi, welcome to Brainmass!

Viruses are simple, microscopic structures that are made up of a protein coat wrapped around a strand of genetic material of either DNA or RNA.
Are they alive? There is a tremendous debate on this question. It depends on how one would define life and how one would characterize living organisms.

First, let us discuss the characteristics of living organisms: Living organisms are built of cells. Living organims reproduce using DNA; they grow and develop, they obtain their energy from the environment; they sense the environment and respond to it; they show high levels of organization; and they evolve.

Using these characteristics as the basis for classifying viruses as alive ...

$2.19