why is virus called intermediate between living and non living organisms?

Asked by sakshi | 11th Apr, 2012, 04:49: PM

Expert Answer:

Viruses show both living and non-living charateristics.
Living features:
  • They are composed of a single strand of genetic information encased within a protein capsule.
  • On entering the appropriate host, the virus becomes active and displays properties typified by living organisms, such as reacting to its environment and directing its efforts toward self-replication 
  • They are thus able to pass on genetic information to future generations.


Non-living features:

  • Viruses lack most of the internal structure and machinery which characterize 'life', including the biosynthetic machinery that is necessary for reproduction.
  • Without a suitable host cell, the virus is unable to replicate and behaves like a non-living structure. During this time there are no internal biological activities occurring within the virus, and in essence the virus is no more than a static organic particle. In order for a virus to replicate it must infect a suitable host cell.
  • They may even be purified and crystallized like chemical substances.

Hence viruses are said to be intermediate between living and non-living organisms.

Answered by  | 12th Apr, 2012, 08:56: AM

Queries asked on Sunday & after 7pm from Monday to Saturday will be answered after 12pm the next working day.