Virus has attributes of both living organisms and non living objects. Thus it can be considered as both living and non living
Origin of Virus
There are two main views for the origin of the virus
- A. I. Oparin suggested that complex molecules of different organic substances form a virus during the origin of life. During this process, the proteins are formed in water in the form of colloidal particles which later become the connecting link between living and non-living and are known as viruses.
- Another view suggests that a virus originates from higher microorganisms which have lost the capacity of completing the life cycle. These organisms become parasites and their structures are reduces to very small and simple and later known as a virus.x
The name virus originated from the Latin word “Virion” which means poison. It is the smallest most primitive acellular infectious agents without any wall. They are incapable of living an independent life and multiply only in living cells.
Why the virus is both living and nonliving?
Living properties of Viruses
- A virus has a definite shape and size.
- They are obligate parasites and cause diseases in plants, animals, and humans.
- It has RNA or DNA as genetic material.
- They multiply inside host living cells and are host specific.
- They are sensitive to temperature and chemicals.
Nonliving properties of Viruses
- The virus does not show the respiration process like living organisms.
- The virus is crystallized in the form of crystals.
- They are inert when present outside a living host and get active when present inside the host.
- Cell wall, cell membrane, and cytoplasm are absent in the virus.
- Viruses do not show metabolic activity.
Conclusion of whether the virus is living or non-living?
Therefore these above features make the virus a unique thing. As per Andre Lwoff ‘, A virus is a virus’. It is neither living nor non-living but is a connecting link between the two. Or we can consider the virus both living and nonliving.