Science Questions

Are viruses intelligent lifeforms?

Sun, 7th Nov 2010

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Question

@Juillesim asked:

Are viruses intelligent lifeforms?

Answer

We put this question to Dr Stacey Efstathiou:

Stacey -   Well as a virologist, Id say yes, very intelligent.  I mean, they're elegant life entities that can reproduce themselves, that can cause persistent infections, reactivate.  A different type of intelligence, no brain cells involved.

Chris -   Indeed, but it depends whether you believe a virus is alive or not.  I mean, my own belief is a virus is not alive, its just an infectious bag of genes.

Stacey -   It is an infectious bag of genes and it undergoes evolution, so in some ways, you could say it is a life form.

Chris -   But not intelligently designed, I hasten to add...

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@Juillesim asked the Naked Scientists: Are viruses intelligent life forms? What do you think? @Juillesim, Sat, 6th Nov 2010

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