A1: Opinions differ on whether viruses are a form of life, or organic structures that interact with living organisms. They have been described as "organisms at the edge of life", since they resemble organisms in that they possess genes and evolve by natural selection, and reproduce by creating multiple copies of themselves through self-assembly. However, although they have genes, they do not have a cellular structure, which is often seen as the basic unit of life. Additionally, viruses do not have their own metabolism, and require a host cell to make new products. They therefore cannot reproduce outside a host cell (although bacterial species such as rickettsia and chlamydia are considered living organisms despite the same limitation). Accepted forms of life use cell division to reproduce, whereas viruses spontaneously assemble within cells, which is analogous to the autonomous growth of crystals. Virus self-assembly within host cells has implications for the study of the origin of life, as it lends further credence to the hypothesis that life could have started as self-assembling organic molecules.
^Rybicki EP (1990) "The classification of organisms at the edge of life, or problems with virus systematics." S Aft J Sci 86:182–186
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The following sentence (On the basis of her pictures, Rosalind Franklin discovered the full DNA structure of the virus in 1955) should be changed to (On the basis of her pictures, Rosalind Franklin discovered the full structure of the virus in 1955), because TMV is an RNA virus and obviously does not contain any DNA. Source #28 says the same thing, too. Thanks! OpossumK (talk) 02:39, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for spotting this error; I corrected the article. Graham Colm (talk) 07:46, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
The section Genome says: "Viruses undergo genetic change by several mechanisms. These include a process called genetic drift where individual bases in the DNA or RNA mutate to other bases." I wonder if genetic drift should be changed for antigenic drift.--Miguelferig (talk) 18:07, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. I have edited the article accordingly and updated the references. Thanks. Graham Colm (talk) 19:14, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
In History the article says: " Reverse transcriptase, the key enzyme that retroviruses use to translate their RNA into DNA". I think it is better to say reverse transcription instead of translation. Translation is used when we are speaking about production of proteins, and transcription when we are speaking about nucleic acids.--Miguelferig (talk) 20:09, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
This would be too technical. When you say "we", who do have in mind? Not the general reader I think. It would be better to add "this is called reverse transcription" rather than introduce and unexplained technical term that would require a distracting link. Graham Colm (talk) 20:23, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, I'm not a native speaker, so my English is not perfect. My biology is better than my English. But I insist, transcription (or just copy) is better than translation in that sentence because translation has a specific meaning in molecular biology.--Miguelferig (talk) 20:37, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
You suggested "reverse transcription", which would be gobbledegook to most readers. I prefer my suggestion. Graham Colm (talk) 20:44, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
I have recast the sentence to "Reverse transcriptase, the enzyme that retroviruses use to make DNA copies of their RNA, was first described in 1970, independently by Howard Martin Temin and David Baltimore." This avoids both words. Graham Colm (talk) 20:55, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
YPartly done I've added the info on the WHO, but the clarify tag was actually asking for information on any unofficial stockpiles of virus so I've moved it down to the next sentence which mentions possible weapons use. — Reatlas(talk) 10:41, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Please consider adding "atmospheric vectorization" to the various ways that virals can be transported. Just as mercury, bacteria (bacteria contain viruses as you know well), pollen, and other particles are held aloft and transported, we need to add virals to the list of many particles that are transported across the globe in the atmospheric currents. Thank you for your consideration. This reference adds to the details of the other references: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1900246/Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).talk18.104.22.168 (talk) 23:10, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
The authors only speculate on the possibility - there is no proof that viruses are present in the upper atmosphere. Graham Colm (talk) 16:16, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Please consider adding "atmospheric vectorization" to the various ways that virals can be transported. Just as mercury and other particles are held aloft and transported, we need to add virals to the list of many particles that are transported across the globe in the atmospheric currents. Thank you for your consideration User:Megerler 25 Oct 2013 —Preceding undated comment added 14:29, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Is there a reliable source for this? Graham Colm (talk) 14:47, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
That source only mentions mercury. This source is about viruses  and there is a good summary of the source here . However, this is just one primary study about viruses in the air near the ground. We need a reliable, secondary source about transmission of viruses in the upper atmosphere. The high levels of ultraviolet radiation at higher levels probably inactivate most viruses, which, by the way, are millions of times larger than atoms of mercury. To add "atmospheric vectorization" we need a secondary source to back this up. Lastly, please remember to sign your comments by adding ~~~~ at the end of your comments. Graham Colm (talk) 21:14, 26 October 2013 (UTC)