Reclassifying Viruses as Living?

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Mar 15 19:26:17 CST 2006

Dear All,
      After reading the Discover article, I have mixed feelings about it.  As I said in my last post, I have always regarded viruses as "living" and an integral part of the beginnings of life and its subsequent evolution.  Even suggestions that large complex viruses were somehow involved in the origins of the nucleus are intriguing.  Therefore, the discovery of Mimivirus was exciting and thought-provoking.

      However, suggestions that Mimiviridae are a fourth Domain of life are absurd.  Once again, gene trees are apparently being confused with a real Tree of Life, just as Woese confused his RNA gene tree with a true Tree of Life.  Although I certainly have no doubts that viruses were involved in the origins of cellular life, those viruses would NOT have been anything as large and complex as Mimivirus (not even close).  I'm all for brainstorming, but let's not get too carried away.
   ----Ken Kinman

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