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lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are also viruses. People refer to these as "germs", as well. Germs is not a scientific term, but bacteria and virus both are.

There has been some argument about whether viruses can actually be classified as "living", as they cannot reproduce without using a living cell of another organism. They are basically genetic material inside a protein coat. The virus attaches to a host cell and injects its DNA or RNA into the cell. The viral genetic material inserts itself into that of the host, and uses the host cell to make copies of itself; usually, a LOT of them. The host cell finally lyses, and the new viruses are released, going off to infect other cells and repeat the process.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When you use the term "germs" I assume that you are referring to bacteria.  Bacteria reproduce asexually.  Usually, they do this through a process known as "fission" or "binary fission."

In this process, a single bacterium divides to form two new cells.  During this process, the bacterium's DNA replicates itself.  One copy of the DNA molecule attaches itself to each side of the cell wall.  The cell then starts to expand.  When it gets to about twice its normal size, it starts to pinch in at the middle.  Eventually, it pinches in completely and there are two new cells, each with identical DNA.