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Are viruses technically organisms or not?

A quick Google search query for the term; are viruses organisms?, reveals various conflicting and somewhat inconclusive arguments & opinions from a range of sources. (Examples provided below).

Note: These answers are mostly opinion-based and inconclusive; falling short of the Stack Exchange community's quality control standards.

Let me be clear: I am not seeking opinions, or debate; but rather definitive answers supported by facts.

Wikipedia | Organism.
The most common argument in support of viruses as living organisms is their ability to undergo evolution and replicate through self-assembly...
Some scientists argue that viruses neither evolve, nor self- reproduce.
~ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organism

Encyclopedia of Life | What is a Virus?
virus is a microscopic organism that can replicate only inside the cells of a host organism...
Viruses infect all types of organisms, including animals and plants, as well as bacteria and archaea.
~ http://eol.org/info/458

Virology Blog | Are Viruses Living? Therefore, viruses are not living things...
So technically speaking they are non- living organisms.
~ http://www.virology.ws/2004/06/09/are-viruses-living/

Popular Science | Are Viruses Alive? New Evidence Says Yes.
Viruses seem to carry out only one life process, reproduction, but even then, individual viruses don't carry translational machinery, namely, the proteins needed to read their DNA and RNA and build new viruses. They invade a cell and hijack its genetic tools to do it for them...
But within the last decade, developments in virology have started to reveal more and more that viruses might in fact be alive...

One was the discovery of mimivirusesgiant viruses with large genomic libraries that are even bigger than some bacteria. (To put this in perspective, some viruses, like the Ebola virus, have as few as seven genes.) Some of these giants have genes for the proteins that are required for translation—those readers of DNA and RNA that in turn build new viruses...
This throws the lack of translational machinery argument for classifying them as nonliving on its head.
~ http://www.popsci.com.au/science/medicine/are-viruses-alive-new-evidence-says-yes,409690

Science Daily | Virus.
A virus is a microscopic particle that can infect the cells of a biological organism...
At the most basic level, viruses consist of genetic material contained within a protective protein coat called a capsid; the existence of both genetic material and protein distinguishes them from other virus-like particles such as prions and viroids...
It has been argued extensively whether viruses are living organisms...

Most virologists consider them non-living, as they do not meet all the criteria of the generally accepted definition of life...
They are similar to obligate intracellular parasites as they lack the means for self-reproduction outside a host cell, but unlike parasites, viruses are generally not considered to be true living organisms...
A primary reason is that viruses do not possess a cell membrane or metabolise on their own - characteristics of all living organisms.
~ https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/virus.htm


marked as duplicate by Remi.b, rg255, kmm, AliceD, mgkrebbs Aug 18 '16 at 20:32

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Remi.b Thankyou. It is worth linking, however; not the same question. Please don't report it as a duplicate. Cheers. $\endgroup$ – tjt263 Aug 18 '16 at 16:30
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @tjt263 Can you explain how this question is different? $\endgroup$ – kmm Aug 18 '16 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ it is the same question, hence you've linked to sites that ask are viruses alive? $\endgroup$ – rg255 Aug 18 '16 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ If you consider the definition of an organism to be 'something alive', they're the same question; if not, they're not. $\endgroup$ – arboviral Aug 18 '16 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ So, if you think about where organism actually came from, organization, the virus is actually quite a very organized little compartment of stuff (without going into details). There are elements that have to cooperate within the actual virus to get anything done, thus, I would qualify that yes viruses are organisms. You wouldn't consider something like a prion or a viroid an organism, however, because on their own there's really just one part with no interdependencies. $\endgroup$ – CKM Aug 18 '16 at 18:44