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10/13/2008 02:38 AM ID: 73990 Permalink   

Scientists Discover Viruses can be Infected by Other Viruses


Scientists in France have discovered a virus infected with a second virus in a cooling tower. Based on the sequencing of the infecting virus's genetic code researchers believe there might be an entire class of viruses that infect other viruses.

Normally viruses can only be seen in an electron microscope. The infected virus was a large mimivirus, a class of viruses large enough to be seen in an optical microscope. The infecting virus has been named 'Sputnik'

The discovery is likely to reopen the debate over whether viruses should be considered to be living organisms. Traditionally they haven't been because they cannot metabolise food and do not have their own cellular structure.

    WebReporter: ixuzus Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
this should help a lot !!

  by: ProTesTa     10/13/2008 03:33 AM     
  This is already known  
& given their DNA I would say that right there supports they are a living organism. They're just acellular. The "do not have their own cellular structure." part isn't entirely true, there are so many viruses out there, some are nothing more than a piece of RNA inside of a protein shell.

Viruses attack cells by inserting their DNA into host cells and taking over
the protein making machinery to make viral proteins. Then they assemble the
new parts into new virus particles and the only way to get out the cell now
is to explode the cell.

Now imagine if we could control this.
  by: skittlesloli   10/13/2008 04:57 AM     
yes.. yes.

If only we could control it then WE could be the ones that own the cheese!
  by: vash_the_stampede     10/13/2008 05:18 AM     
  If a virus  
doesn't "metabolise" (is that technically the same as taking in nutrients?) how do they split into new cells? How do they get the raw materials to reproduce?

And doesn't the fact they have DNA or RNA prove they are a life form?
  by: stretchman     10/13/2008 05:31 AM     
I'm just telling you what the source said.
  by: ixuzus     10/13/2008 06:33 AM     
Viruses don't have the machinery to directly metabolise. They must insert their genome into the machinery of a cell, causing the infected cell to unwittingly reproduce the genetic code of the virus and translate it into parts of the viral envelope. This uses the cell's resources, and often kills it eventually.

Whether a virus is alive or not depends on your definition of life. But viruses are little more than genetic code in a husk. A virus is like a USB-stick: inactive and pointless unless inserted into a 'real' device.
  by: Ec5618   10/13/2008 09:52 AM     
  @ Ec5618  
Thanks, that helps!
  by: stretchman     10/13/2008 10:52 AM     
  This is one I always wondered about...  
  by: captainJane     10/13/2008 12:15 PM     
  Dows this mean the male penis  
has viral-like structure?

After all, it is inactive until inserted.

Just my two cents.
  by: white albino   10/13/2008 12:41 PM     
Does this mean, you are simply it's life support?? If thats all use it for?
  by: isuzu     10/13/2008 01:40 PM     
I am actually a life support system for my wife. Just ask any jeweler.
  by: white albino   10/13/2008 05:09 PM     
this is a concept AT LEAST as old as i am.

viruses are as much a life form (living organism) as much as a parasite is, which is no less a life form than a human is... virii undergo evolution at a blinding rate compared to most living organisms and they use us and other hosts to facilitate both its evolution and its very survival...

to me the question is, is the earth itself a living oragnism
  by: HAVOC666     10/13/2008 05:45 PM     
  They don't *split*  
into new cells. They do not undergo mitosis or binary fission. they are reproduced when their genome integrates into a host and then the host translates the genome. viruses do not have any nutritional demands, they do not actively maintain their structure, or anything else that living organisms do. they are not *living* I hate it when lysol commercials say they 'kill' viruses.
  by: RyanB     10/13/2008 11:55 PM     
  Well talk  
about learning something new! A mimivirus, well I had never heard of that term umtil now. I thought Ix made a typo and meant to put mini in there. I guess the opposite of mini is mimi:) :)!!
  by: sleeky     10/14/2008 12:45 AM     
  Now all we need to do  
is find a "Good" virus that attacks the various virus's we have and does no harm to the host after it finds all the "Bad" ones. Of course knowing how nature works if there is a virus that kills a bad virus then it is probably worse.
  by: bala_mt   10/14/2008 06:42 PM     
  life cycle  
I remember sitting in a college biology class, and being informed that we were going to cover the life cycle of the virus. We had already been told that a virus was a non-living object. I remember thinking that the concept of a life cycle of a non-living structure made little sense to me.

It is very interesting to see the forms that virii and prions take, and wonder why it is that they do what they do. If they are not living then why are they driven to parasitize cells and use them to propagate their own genetic code?

I think we have a lot more to learn about the nature of life. Anyway - this finding is bound to be beneficial to researchers.
  by: spiggy   10/15/2008 03:56 PM     
  Making viruses to kill other viruses?  
Well, I hope you guys are ready for the zombie hordes...I know I am.
  by: HumanResources   10/15/2008 10:08 PM     
Virus sues Government for lose of family.
  by: steve2045     10/19/2008 10:09 PM     
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