3D rendering of a virus
The prime directive of all organisms is to reproduce and survive and this also applies to viruses. Apparently, viruses are considered a nuisance to humans.
Viruses possess both living and non-living characteristics. The unique characteristic that differentiates viruses from other organisms is the fact that they require other organisms to host themselves in order to survive. Hence, they are deemed obligate parasites.
Viruses can spread in the following ways:
Therefore, viruses have many means of getting transmitted from one organism to another.
Viruses are tiny microorganisms. Due to their size and simplicity, they are unable to replicate independently. Therefore, when a virus is situated in a host, it requires the means to reproduce before it dies out without producing more viruses.
This is done by altering the genetic makeup of a cell to start coding for materials required to make more viruses. By altering the cell instructions, more viruses can be produced. This, in turn, can affect more cells and help in preserving their existence as a species.
The following is a step by step guide of how a typical bacteriophage (a virus that infects a bacterial cell) takes control of its host cell and reproduces itself.
Without a means of defense, the host that is under attack from the virus will soon die.
The next tutorial looks at how organisms defend themselves from these ruthless viruses.
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