Compare and contrast bacteria and viruses. Provide at least two similarities and two differences.

Expert Answers
besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bacteria and viruses are two totally different organisms although they do share some commonalities.

Some comparisons are is they can both cause diseases and you need special microscopic equipment to see them. The differences far outweigh the differences.

One difference between the two is that bacteria contain ribosomes and viruses do not. Another difference is that bacteria can reproduce in many different places while viruses need a living cell to reproduce. There is also a huge difference is size. Bacteria are on average about 1,000 nanometers long while viruses are approximately 20-250 nanometers long. In addition, antibiotics will get rid of bacterial infections but antibiotics will not get rid of a viral infection.

parama9000 | Student

Both do not have a nucleus.

Bacteria is larger than a virus.

There are beneficial bacteria, like the ones in yoghurt, but there is no beneficial virus.

Bacteria are unicellular organisms while viruses are technically considered non-living, or even parasitical as they do have cells- Cells are generally a part in deciding whether an organism is living or not.

The similarities would be that they both are virulent organisms, and they both do not have a nucleus. 

The differences would be:

  1. Bacteria have ribosomes whereas viruses do not
  2. Bacteria are unicellular but viruses are not (because they are considered as nonliving)
  3. Bacteria has DNA and RNA floating freely in cytoplasm, it has a cell wall and a cell membrane, whereas a virus is simply DNA or RNA enclosed within a coat of protein
  4. Bacteria can be beneficial (because we have helpful bacteria in our gut) whereas viruses are typically not beneficial. 
  5. bacteria goes through binary fission to reproduce which is a form of asexual reproduction, and the virus takes over the host cell and causes it to make copies of the virus and destroys the host cell in the process of spreading. 
  6. Bacteria cells are larger then viruses
krishna-agrawala | Student

Both Bacteria and virus are single cell organisms of microscopic size. Both are able to exist by themselves. However there are some significant differences also between them. The major difference is that bacteria is able to reproduce by itself. However the virus is unable to reproduce by itself. The virus remains dormant when it exists by itself, but when is enters another cell it comes alive and is able to reproduce also.

In general virus are much smaller than bacteria. And they are so primitive form of life that some scientist prefer to classify virus as something between living and non-living things. Bacteria are clearly classified as living organisms.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question