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Viruses: alive or not?

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posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 09:16 PM
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reply to post by ImaFungi
 


They dock to the appropriate receptor on a cell, the capsid inserts the contents into the cell, and Bob's your uncle.

Once the data package is in there, it hijacks the cell's resources to reproduce itself.




posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 09:25 PM
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Originally posted by Bedlam
reply to post by ImaFungi
 


They dock to the appropriate receptor on a cell, the capsid inserts the contents into the cell, and Bob's your uncle.

Once the data package is in there, it hijacks the cell's resources to reproduce itself.


So why would this activity not be considered "doing something"? You said they dont do anything on their own.

Are there any non living 'things' that are able to do similar things like you just mentioned?



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 09:27 PM
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Originally posted by Bedlam
reply to post by ImaFungi
 


They dock to the appropriate receptor on a cell, the capsid inserts the contents into the cell, and Bob's your uncle.

Once the data package is in there, it hijacks the cell's resources to reproduce itself.



Your explanation kind of sounds like a college guy to me
edit on 1-3-2013 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 05:51 AM
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Originally posted by rickymouse

Originally posted by Bedlam
reply to post by ImaFungi
 


They dock to the appropriate receptor on a cell, the capsid inserts the contents into the cell, and Bob's your uncle.

Once the data package is in there, it hijacks the cell's resources to reproduce itself.



Your explanation kind of sounds like a college guy to me
edit on 1-3-2013 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)


Probably not a lot of grade schoolers that know much about viruses. There's a minimum CBOK you have to have.



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 05:52 AM
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Originally posted by ImaFungi

Originally posted by Bedlam
reply to post by ImaFungi
 


They dock to the appropriate receptor on a cell, the capsid inserts the contents into the cell, and Bob's your uncle.

Once the data package is in there, it hijacks the cell's resources to reproduce itself.


So why would this activity not be considered "doing something"? You said they dont do anything on their own.

Are there any non living 'things' that are able to do similar things like you just mentioned?


Sure. Any protein that docks to a cell receptor does about the same thing. It's all van der Waals forces and electrostatic charges, it's not like it's got propellers and sensor suites.



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 06:47 AM
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Originally posted by PsykoOps
reply to post by 1nquisitive
 


Thx, I'm going to have to see this sometime. It wont let me watch it from bbc


Found the clip I was talking about as YT video. Science is effin awesome!




Also just noticed it's bacteria and not a virus. This is not my field at all
edit on 1/3/2013 by PsykoOps because: (no reason given)


I will keep trying to a YT version for you, when when I'll link you. That TED link is pretty awsome



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 02:42 PM
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Originally posted by Bedlam

Originally posted by ImaFungi

Originally posted by Bedlam
reply to post by ImaFungi
 


They dock to the appropriate receptor on a cell, the capsid inserts the contents into the cell, and Bob's your uncle.

Once the data package is in there, it hijacks the cell's resources to reproduce itself.


So why would this activity not be considered "doing something"? You said they dont do anything on their own.

Are there any non living 'things' that are able to do similar things like you just mentioned?


Sure. Any protein that docks to a cell receptor does about the same thing. It's all van der Waals forces and electrostatic charges, it's not like it's got propellers and sensor suites.


by those forces and charges, are you saying the molecular material is just trying to organize it self in the lowest energy state or something? and the results of that are the virus doing its thing and protein doing its thing?

Could you not simplify all human behavior don to van der waals forces and electrostatic charges?



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 02:49 PM
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Originally posted by ImaFungi
by those forces and charges, are you saying the molecular material is just trying to organize it self in the lowest energy state or something? and the results of that are the virus doing its thing and protein doing its thing?


Basically, yes. The virus displays a charge pattern on the capsid which is the corollary of the receptor it's designed to fit. They attract each other, then if the cell's unlucky, it ends up infected. Note that the virus isn't actively making this happen, it's a static function of the capsid design.




Could you not simplify all human behavior don to van der waals forces and electrostatic charges?


No. The virus isn't *doing anything*, it's just drifting around. It doesn't make or expend energy. It doesn't make new proteins. Some viruses are just naked nuclear material. For some reason, cells will pick up loose DNA or RNA and look at it. Bacteria are really bad about that. You get a lot of genetic material floating around in the environment, bacteria will pick it up and parse it, sometimes add it to plasmids or its main DNA, which is how they sometimes acquire resistance to antibiotics from each other.



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 02:59 PM
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Originally posted by Bedlam

Originally posted by ImaFungi
by those forces and charges, are you saying the molecular material is just trying to organize it self in the lowest energy state or something? and the results of that are the virus doing its thing and protein doing its thing?


Basically, yes. The virus displays a charge pattern on the capsid which is the corollary of the receptor it's designed to fit. They attract each other, then if the cell's unlucky, it ends up infected. Note that the virus isn't actively making this happen, it's a static function of the capsid design.




Could you not simplify all human behavior don to van der waals forces and electrostatic charges?


No. The virus isn't *doing anything*, it's just drifting around. It doesn't make or expend energy. It doesn't make new proteins. Some viruses are just naked nuclear material. For some reason, cells will pick up loose DNA or RNA and look at it. Bacteria are really bad about that. You get a lot of genetic material floating around in the environment, bacteria will pick it up and parse it, sometimes add it to plasmids or its main DNA, which is how they sometimes acquire resistance to antibiotics from each other.


interesting. How is it thought viruses first came into existence, and how are they made now, what do they come from/what creates them (or do all viruses share a common ancestor virus and there is an unbroken chain of virus back to the beginning?)?

How drastically would the biological environment change if all viruses on earth today were eliminated?



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 03:08 PM
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reply to post by Ayana
 


OP,

Great article and the MIMI (sp?) virus is one of those amazing discoveries that keeps science in that gray area. Anyway, to me the question of whether this particular virus can be considered "living" or any other virus for that matter is more of question about how we perceive the definition of "life". Obviously the virus has aspects of life that say another organic based material--like oil for example doesn't have, such as the ability to replicate, right? But then again, the whole metabolism issue rears its head. So, really the questions isn't so much our viruses living, but rather "are scientist willing to edit or expand the definition of what 'living' means in order to include some classes of virus or even all classes?" More specifically, can we consider metabolism a necessary requirement for life?

As per wikipedia:


These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. The word metabolism can also refer to all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, including digestion and the transport of substances into and between different cells, in which case the set of reactions within the cells is called intermediary metabolism or intermediate metabolism.


en.wikipedia.org...

Now, going off of this definition, we would have to say that the MIMI virus actually contains some proteins and genes that allow of metabolism. But do these proteins contribute to the growth of the virus or do they only contribute to its replication machinery? From what I understand, these proteins don't play a function in its growth, only its replication--so I don't believe metabolism quite fits here. (Correct me if I am wrong in this assumption as I am no expert on this strand of virus or any other).

So that begs the question? Are we willing to later or expand the definition to include viruses? I personally think that there wouldn't be a major crisis if we simply "ignored" the metabolism issue for viruses--as they are quite a unique organic entity that fits somewhere between living and non-living. However, I think we would be blind to believe that viruses are closer to the non-living rather than the living.

edit on 2-3-2013 by ForwardDrift because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 03:23 PM
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Originally posted by ImaFungi
interesting. How is it thought viruses first came into existence,


That I'm not sure of. I should do some reading and see what the general consensus is. Never really thought about it, to tell the truth.



and how are they made now, what do they come from/what creates them (or do all viruses share a common ancestor virus and there is an unbroken chain of virus back to the beginning?)?


Oh, that. Well, that's why they hijack cells. The virus injects genetic material into the cell that, through various means depending on the sort of virus it is, takes over and turns the cell into a little virus factory. Note that there are maybe a dozen different TYPES of virus in terms of general design, and infinite variations within each type.

But basically, they move in and start manipulating the cell. Some viruses hijack ribosomes directly and start making more viral proteins, others actually patch themselves into the cell's DNA. There's a number of ways this happens depending on the virus type. But the cell's own nuclear material is basically put on hold and the new instructions start commanding the assembly of viral genetic material and capsids/envelopes if the virus has that sort of thing. When the time comes, some viruses rupture the cell and release themselves into the environment, but others will command the cell to survive and bud off little envelopes full of viral genetic material.

Viruses per se have no metabolism, no protein synthesis. They get this from the cell they invade.

A lot of viruses don't have a lot of error checking, so you get constant variations which are essentially random, this is how they evolve. Others can cross-combine if a cell is infected with more than one virus - they'll swap genetic material and you get something new and creative. It might work, it might not.



How drastically would the biological environment change if all viruses on earth today were eliminated?


That's a big question.



posted on May, 11 2013 @ 10:36 AM
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What's the importance of the distinction?

'Life' is just a word. All life is just a chemical/ physical process, like the sun exploding hydrogen, like the tides being moved by gravity, a rock.. It makes no difference to the universe whether you destroy a life or a rock or an ocean or a star -- we're all just physical things.
edit on 5/11/13 by RedDragon because: (no reason given)





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