[extropy-chat] What is the smallest genome possible?

John K Clark jonkc at att.net
Sun Oct 15 20:48:30 UTC 2006

Robert Bradbury Wrote:

> As at least one virus has recently been found with a multi-thousand base
> genome so I think the virus and bacteria definitions are starting to get
> very fuzzy.

I disagree, the distinction between a bacterium (thank you Damien) and a
virus (if virii or viri is a real word it damn well shouldn't be) isn't the
size of its genome, it's the fact that a bacterium has a metabolism while a
virus does not. However I agree with you that it might sometimes become a
little difficult deciding if something is a organelle or a bacterium. It
gets even worse, a mitochondria cannot live unless it is imbedded deep
inside another creature, but then neither can a tapeworm. When a organism
evolves into a parasite or symbiote it always becomes simpler.

    John K Clark

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