Actually, I think the definition of life, including whether the virus should be considered alive, is part of the discussion of this thread... Is the virus alive?
No a virus is not alive. The definition of life has its squibbing among biologists but the list of criteria are the general accepted criteria.
1. Convert one form of energy to another. (Actually I should add, "Contain mechanisms for" to this) Not done by virus or prions
2. Excrete/Deal with waste created by metabolic processes Not done by virus or prions
3. Reproduce with fidelity.
4. Cell is basic unit. Not done by virus or prions (they are not cells).
5. Evolves, inherit variability.
Notice that for something to be alive it also needs to have inherit variability. But evolution can act on things that are non-living as well. Being alive and being able to evolve are two different things.
Edited by camlax, 07 October 2007 - 01:53 PM.