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Are Viruses Alive By Bo Howes The word virus means poi-son in Latin Viruses are submicro-scopic intracellular parasites that consist of either RNA or DNA and a protective coat of protein It has caused countless diseases in vari-ous organisms The term virus was first used in the 1890s to describe agents that caused diseases that were smaller than bacteria The ex-istence of viruses was established in 1892 when Russian scientist Dimity I Ivanovsky discovered microscopic particles later known as the tobacco mosaic virus Over the years scientists have debated whether viruses are alive Some scientists argue that the virus is lifeless On the other hand other scientists argue that viruses are lifeforms and should be classified into a kingdom However many sci-entists have agreed that things must have seven characteristics of life to be considered alive The character-istics of life are all living things are composed of cells all organisms are organized at cellular and molecular levels energy use and response to the environment growth reproduc-tion and adaptation From research and observa-tion scientists have found that vi-ruses can perform some of the life processes They found that viruses have organization the ability to re-produce and adaptations First they found that viruses are generally organized and composed of a nu-cleic acid core either RNA or DNA surrounded by protein Next they found that viruses could reproduce It does not reproduce by sexual or asexual production but by injecting its genetic material into the nucleus of a living cell Finally they found out that viruses have adaptations They have the ability to mutate into different strains to resist man-made drugs In short these are some views and facts about the virus To this day scientists are still fiercely debating whether viruses are alive Should we consider them alive since they perform some life processes or simply consider them lifeless
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