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why do we study viruses in biology

What is a microbe? A (or microorganism) is a microscopic organism. Anything that is considered alive and that is small enough is called a microbe. Note that this definition has two issues. There is no universally accepted definition of life. There is no universally accepted size threshold for being called a microbe (to my knowledge). I would go with a threshold of about $10^{-5}$ meters. Is a virus a microbe? A virus IS and IS NOT alive depending on the definition.


Note btw, that the definition of what is alive is not a matter of Biology but a matter of Philosophy. Most of the time, viruses are considered as not being alive. It is important to understand that the definition of life has absolutely no impact on biology and is nothing but a question of nomenclature. If you want to call a virus a living thing, then yes, viruses are microbes. As stated on the wiki article:
Some microbiologists also classify viruses (and viroids) as microorganisms, but others consider these as nonliving.


You can find a discussion of why viruses are generally considered as not being alive. Unit of life The concept of "unit of life" has not much meaning in biology and, to my experience, is most often used as a nice image for teaching young students what a cell is. Most of the time that I heard of "unit of life" (mostly when I was in secondary school and eventually high school) was used to describe a single cell making up a multicellular individual such as a cell of your blood for example and not a unicellular individual. 23.


What tools are necessary for studying viruses? Why couldnвt van Leeuvenhoek observe them in his studies? How can we study viruses today? 24. Describe how an animal virus infects a host cell (in general) 25. Describe how a bacteriophage infects a host cell.


Compare and contrast lytic вЕand lysogenic mechanisms of replication. Why is it an advantage for a virus to be able to have both of these mechanisms of replication? 27. What component of the flu virus changes every year? How is this advantageous for the virus? How does it affect us? 29. What components of a host cell are used by viruses during viral replication? 30. Describe 3 different explanations for the origin of viruses.

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