Is a virus alive?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Vkothii, Mar 15, 2008.

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  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Moderator Note:

    Posts on gut microflora moved to new split thread.

    Gut Microflora
     
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  3. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    I'm going to go 1 per post, so here goes #1:

    How far back? To when there were a lot of species in that genus? Back to the common ancestor of ungulates?
    Given that the geography and climate changed, and selected for longer-necked types, back to when that was happening?
    Given the current geographical changes (by which of course, habitat is implied), can you predict the evolution of any extant large mammals (the polar bear or timber wolf, say, or the Sumatran tiger)?

    You mean mutations aren't chaotic.

    Randomness, if you mean probability (not chaos which means no predictability, no probability), is certainly involved in mutation.

    DNA is not a chaotic structure, nor is an evolving genome a chaotic structure (it's a complex structure, and represents a lot of other complex structure, it's highly ordered). Randomness, as in uncertainty, is an innate part of the structure.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2008
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  5. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    I believe I've heard of people picking up viral infections when they open up a tomb that's been sealed for thousands of years.
     
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  7. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    To me though, chaos suggests unpredictability, zero expectation, background noise, and "randomisation".

    Something I see is the word "random" being used to mean different things, so it might be safer if I avoid it and explicitly state when I mean predictability and probability. Chaos is neither, but it is a part of any system. Of the universe, in fact.

    Not even close, is a bunch of chemicals anywhere near equivalent to yeast.

    That's like saying a pile of bricks is a house, or a bin full of parts is a lawnmower.

    I would say mutations are an inherent property of genetic material, and its maintenance (overall entropy).

    Right, they need a host cell in order to replicate.
    Arguably, because that's all they do (replicate their genes and enzymes and protein coats), then they aren't metabolising either.

    There's a compelling list of things virii don't do, but there's a few things they do do, that are equivalent to what cells do. The most obvious is: they persist and evolve.

    We haven't been through that list yet, but I want to put a list of viral functionality together, to see where it fits and doesn't, is all. Maybe we'll get there.

    P.S. Isn't figurative language amazingly ambiguous?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2008
  8. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

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    Viruses don't produce any of the materials required for their reproduction, nor do they supply any of the energy. So, they are lacking some of the criteria you used in your own definition of life.
     
  9. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    Viruses invade a cell. How do they invade a cell?

    And why is some list suddenly the definitive set of criteria? (Hint, it isn't really even the start of a list. I should know, I wrote it)
     
  10. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

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    Ok, well post your full list then. All I have to go on is what you write in your posts.

    We've already discussed how viruses invade cells, so we don't need to take a step or two backwards and discuss it again. I've read all the posts in the thread up until now.

    I mentioned before that the manner in which we define something does nothing to it's existence, and you agreed. So why are we having this discussion? I also asked if you thought that somehow a virus's existence was diminished by our not including them as alive?
     
  11. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    Oh great. I thought we'd answered some question. But we've only "discussed it" huh?

    What was discussed? That a virus can invade a cell, I know a virus can invade a cell.
    I thought a virus wasn't alive though, how can something dead invade anything?

    Last time I asked, it went something like: "a virus doesn't do anything about getting into a cell, it's passive chemical interactions".
    An enzyme transcribing DNA is a passive chemical reaction too. A cell metabolising is able to because of passive chemical reactions; control of chemical reactions in a cell is due to passive chemical reactions; regulation of gene transcription is passive chemical reactions "acting" to regulate gene expression. All of these enzyme reactions can be carried out individually in vitro, outside a cell.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2008
  12. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    Vkothii thats silly

    fire can destroy cells and isnt alive, if we ever get nano bots they MAYBE able to enter a cell to do things but they still wont be alive. Virus lack the ability to exits independently from another cell, they subvert the cells own organells rather than using there own to reproduce. They cant produce ATP or there own protines so they are not alive
     
  13. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

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    That's exactly right, so what are we discussing?

    We are going in semantic circles because you keep picking on usage of particular words. "Invade" is just a word to describe what a virus does when it's glycoproteins interact with those on the cell surface membrane. Just because "invade" also refers to an action that is performed by other organisms, including sentient ones, we cannot imply that everything that "invades" something else is alive.
     
  14. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    "Regulate" is just a word to describe what a cell does when enzymes and signalling molecules interact with other enzymes.
    Alive is just a word to describe what a cell does when all its enzymes and chemicals interact, and DNA gets transcribed, and maintained. Oh yeah, it mutates, too. But mutation is just a word.

    Watch out for that big concrete barrier as you go round the semantic circle.
     
  15. Hipparchia Registered Senior Member

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    Vkothii, please answer these questions:
    1) Are viruses dead or alive?
    2) Where did viruses come from?
    3) Do viruses evolve?
    4) Do viruses behave a)with purpose; b)randomly c)chaotically d) some of the above e)all of the above?

    Answer the questions with statements, not further questions.
     
  16. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    What does "dead or alive" mean?
    The same place bacteria came from? The bacteria place.
    The virii evolve much the same way everything else does - including bacteria of course.
    Define "purpose"?
    Why are you asking me? I'm not telling you anything, remember?
     
  17. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Then put him on your ignore list rather then respond in a manner meant to aggravate him.
     
  18. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

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    LOL! You are too funny.
     
  19. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

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    Hmm, 'funny' isn't quite the word I'd be using.

    Unfortunately, it looks as though we have another 'Valich' on our hands.

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  20. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    What do you dudes want, exactly?
    I answered 2 out of 4.

    So who's going to answer the other two?
     
  21. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Those aren't really answer, answers would be a position you would take in which we could have a meaningful debate. Vague answers are nearly as bad as answering a question with another question.

    by the way its "viruses", few if any in the medical or scientific community us the "virii" pluralism (other then computer scientist, but they are just nerds)
     
  22. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't this your thread? You don't seem happy with the way the discussion has gone, or the way we have responded. Perhaps it would be more useful if you outlined what you wanted out of this.
     
  23. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    What, you think I should say everything because the OP was my effort?

    There are still unanswered questions, so why aren't there any answers yet?

    Come on, you slackers.
     
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