Why Are Viruses Living Organelles

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A virus is a type of microbe that consists of two parts: a small genome of either single-stranded or double-stranded DNA or RNA, and a protein coat called a capsid which protects the genome. It is debatable whether or not viruses are living organisms because of their structures and functions; however, according to the characteristics of what makes an organism truly living, including nutrition, respiration, movement, excretion, growth, reproduction, and homeostasis, viruses are not actually alive (Kadhila). Because of their simple structure, it is possible that viruses could be the basis of modern cells, but their lack of basic characteristics, such as respiration, reproduction, and movement, means they cannot possibly be living creatures. Respiration is the process by which an organism creates energy that it can use for various processes. An organism can obtain the organic molecules it needs to produce its energy either through autotrophy or heterotrophy. It can then convert these…show more content…
Because of their simplicity, they could potentially have been the starting material of cells. Upon replication of their genome, it is possible that mutations could occur, coding for proteins that could later serve various cellular functions, or that upon budding for eukaryotic viruses, a ribosome or other organelle could have gone with the virus and become integrated into its system. If an organism is missing only one of the characteristics of life, it cannot be considered alive. Upon reviewing several of these characteristics, it becomes apparent that viruses are truly not living creatures. For them to be thought of as alive, the definition of what it means to be alive would have to change. As more research is done on microbes, perhaps the definition will change, but until then, the evidence points to one conclusion: viruses are not

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