Viruses: Living or Non-Living?
I think that viruses are living, because even though they don’t technically qualify as having all six unifying principles of life, it has enough of them for it to be considered alive. For some of the traits that it misses, it has some other type of trait that is close to the characteristic that it is missing. The six unifying principles of life that we discussed in class are evolution, homeostasis, EMO, reproduction, growth and development, and ecological relationships. Viruses evolve. Viruses are like bacteria in the way that they evolve. They have mutations in their DNA that allow variations among offspring and survival in those that have useful variations (adaptations). Viruses have adapted and become immune to certain treatments and antibiotics that have been used over the years to try and kill them. The HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) has adapted over the years and become immune to treatment. Many people with this virus are not able to be cured because their type of the virus is rejecting treatment. Do viruses maintain an internal balance (homeostasis)? I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t think that viruses can perform any cellular activities because they are not a cell or made up of cells. Viruses function fine without homeostasis, so maybe homeostasis is not exactly required for something to be alive. Viruses do have EMO (energy, matter, and organization). A virus’s energy source is its host. It attaches to a host and feeds off of it to stay alive and “reproduce.” A virus is made out of matter, but it isn’t organized into cells like other organisms. All viruses’ bodies are organized into a head made out of a protein shell that contains DNA, a tube allowing the DNA to travel into the host cell, and “landing gear” that allows the virus to land on the host. Viruses do reproduce, just not in either of the more common ways of reproduction. Instead of sexually or asexually reproducing, a virus injects...
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