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Are viruses considered living or nonliving?

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Viruses are not classified as living creatures because they lack many features that scientists look for to determine life. First of all, viruses are unable to reproduce independently; a virus can only reproduce itself with the help of a host cell. While viruses contain genetic code, they are only capable of using their genes to alter the function of a different living cell. Additionally, viruses lack cell structure, a feature shared by all organisms classified as alive.

Arguments in favor of viruses being categorized as alive include the fact that viruses can survive outside the host cell, and include genetic material like living creatures. However, scientists typically view viruses as structures that are able to interact with living creatures without being alive themselves.

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