Why are viruses considered living organisms

Are viruses living beings: pros and cons

Are viruses living beings or not? We answer exactly this question in the next sections. You will immediately receive a short summary and then we will carry out a pro and contra for everyone who would like to know a little more precisely. This article belongs to our field of biology.

Bacteria are living things. But what about viruses? Are these also living beings? For everyone who wants to know very quickly.

  • short version: Viruses are by the common definition no Creature.

Viruses living beings: pros and cons

Viruses are not living things, at least according to the common Definition of a living being. However, I'll show you a pros and cons here. This shows that at least some of the criteria for a living being are met by viruses. But not all of them. According to the current definition, living beings are capable of at least the following things: metabolism, reproduction and evolution. Some definitions have even more points that need to be met. But let's take a look at these three basic requirements:

  • metabolism: Let's make it short. Viruses do not have their own metabolism, this characteristic for a living being is not fulfilled. Viruses "only" use the metabolism of other organisms and have the ability to manipulate their metabolism for their needs.
  • Reproduction: It also looks bad with one's own reproduction. Viruses can only multiply in living beings (for example humans). To do this, they infect the cells of a host, smuggle their genetic material into the host's cells and multiply there with the help of the infected cell. There is no propagation of its own, which also speaks against a designation as a living being.
  • evolution: Viruses are able to go through an evolution, they can mutate. This point for a living being is fulfilled.

If you look at these three points, you can see that only one of the three points is fulfilled. Only when all the requirements for a living being were met, one could really speak of a living being - according to this definition. One more note: There are giant viruses that behave slightly differently and where the discussion about living beings or not has started again. However, these are viewed as a special case. Viruses are not living things in the biology class at school.

Note: You can find out what constitutes viruses, how they are structured and what viruses "do" in our article Viruses: Definition, Structure and Presentation.

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