Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bacteriophage in the Blogs

It's always nice to read about phages in the news, but I was especially pleased to find a blogger that shares my passion for phages.

I give you Blogging for Bacteriophages.

The latest post covers the difficulties inherent in viral taxonomy. I recently covered this topic in my microbiology course, where I discussed the mosaicism of viral genomes. Another issue raised by the author regards whether viruses are living or non-living. It's a question I am heartily sick of. My belief is that living entities are those that evolve via natural selection, and surely viruses should be included in that category.

Photo from Mimiviridae


  1. Yesterday, when I was having dinner with Richard Lewontin, we were discussing prions and heredity. Would any one here define prions as alive or capable of evolution if only two comformational states exist?

  2. My take is that prions are not alive because they do not have any genetic information.

  3. Computer viruses could evolve by natural selection. I agree that trying to divide the universe into living and nonliving isn't particularly useful.