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Are Viruses Alive Or Something Else_

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Hey everyone thanks for tuning into Test Tube plus, I'm Trace. This is a podcast style show; we take one big topic and we break it down into 5 episodes in a series. This week we are talking about viruses; so what are they, where do they come from, and this episode: are they alive? Because it's kind of still a debate... Viruses were first discovered at the end of the 19th century. Science back then was still kind of a 'gentleman's game'; you would have some money and be able to do some science. In 1884 we knew bacteria existed and they created something, a scientist named Chamberlain created something, called the Chamberland filter which was created to pull bacteria out of a solution. So they could put this filter through and find bacteria but viruses they didn't know about yet. In 1892 they put tobacco leaves through these filters and it turned out the tobacco leaves had this disease and it still spread. So they found that there must be something smaller than bacteria causing the problems. Another scientist in 1898 looked at them and they use the word "virus", which at the time meant poison. It changed meaning throughout history. The first time anyone ever decided that a "virus" was a thing was the tobacco mosaic virus. And viruses were thought at the time, as I said, to be a poison and later determined to maybe be life forms. And then, they were like 'no, you know what, they're not life forms. We went a little far one the life form train, let's back it up a bit: they're biological chemicals.' And then they were like "no, no, no maybe they are life - they seem to behave like life forms" This is a debate that is still kind of ongoing, they're in this grey area between "Are they alive?" or "Are they not alive?" Physically a virus is a bit of nucleic acid, which is either DNA or RNA, usually between three and three genes and 400 genes. So that's so three to four hundred... no; literally 3 genes all the way up to 400 genes. Then they're coated in a protein for protection and it also forms the capsid which is the main part of the virus, most of it's mass. Then there's the lipid membrane which is an envelope that surrounds that to protect it as well; although not all viruses have an envelope, some are called 'naked viruses' like the adeno virus or the well, the adeno virus is a good example But influenza and HIV are enveloped viruses. Viruses are very tiny between 17 and three hundred nanometers as determined by how much DNA they hold. and about 1,000,000th of an inch if you're using the ye olde English system. And that seems simple, I mean really, three genes? That's so simple, and that's exactly what it is to be a virus. Viruses are simple, in fact they are the simplest form of "life" I'm using finger quotes there.

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Duration: 7 minutes and 34 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 15
Posted by: christineward on Feb 24, 2016

Are Viruses Alive Or Something Else_

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