Reclassifying Viruses as Living?

Guido at Guido at
Wed Mar 15 08:59:09 CST 2006

> I think a key criterion of life is metabolism and the ability
> to use energy.  Viruses can't do that.

I use to think about life as the 'auto-anti-entropy force'. Increasing entropy
is the rule in the non-living world. A force that is capable to counter this and
is generated by a 'thing' itself makes that thing 'non non-living' (i.e.
living). Own metabolism and use of energy are just 'some' of the means by which
this force is fed, though other forms of 'force-feeding' are possible (as
feeding by the host in viruses).
An interesting aspect is that this force cannot originate spontaneously (as far
as we know) but can only be transferred (by means of a process of replication /

Guido Mathieu
Peperomia Research Group
Department of Biology
Ghent University
K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35,
B-9000 Gent. Belgium

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