Are viruses intelligent lifeforms?

07 November 2010

Question

Are viruses intelligent lifeforms?

Answer

We put this question to Dr Stacey Efstathiou:

Stacey - Well as a virologist, I'd 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, it's 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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