The Classification of Virus Within the 5 Kingdom of Life

Topics: DNA, Organism, Gene Pages: 2 (531 words) Published: May 12, 2012
All living things can be categorize into one of six kingdoms, and they share five basic properties. All living organisms share common characteristics, and they share five basic properties. They are: cellular organization, metabolism, homeostasis, growth and reproduction, and heredity. (Johnson, 2010, p. 15) Those living things are categorized into six groups called Kingdoms. The six kingdoms are Bacteria, Archaea, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.

Viruses do not belong to the above 5 kingdoms of life. They are much smaller and much less complex than cells. They are macromolecular units composed of DNA or RNA surrounded by an outer protein shell. They have no membrane-bound organelles, no ribosomes (organelle site of protein synthesis), no cytoplasm (living contents of a cell), and no source of energy production of their own. They do not exhibit autopoiesis--i.e. they do not have the self-maintenance metabolic reactions of living systems. Viruses lack cellular respiration, ATP-production, gas exchange, etc. However, they do reproduce, but at the expense of the host cell. Like obligate parasites, they are only capable of reproduction within living cells. In a sense, viruses hijack the host cell and force it to produce more viruses through DNA replication and protein synthesis. Outside of their host cells, viruses can survive as minute macromolecular particles. Viruses may attack animals and plants. Infectious human viruses can be dispersed though the air (airborne viruses) or body fluids (HIV virus). Epidemic viruses (such as HIV) that are passed from person to person via sexual conjugation are remarkably similar to computer viruses. Unfortunately in humans there is no resident antivirus program to alert you of a potential infection, or to quickly scan your body and delete the invader once it has entered your system. Humans must rely on their amazing antibody and cell-mediated immune response, one of the most complex and remarkable achievements in the...

Cited: Johnson, G. (2010). Essential of The Living World. New York City : The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Zimmer, C. (Jul2007). ALIENS AMONG US. Discover Magazine, Vol. 28, Issue 7..
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