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

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Oct 15 21:28:19 UTC 2006

On 10/15/06, John K Clark wrote:
> 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.

Wikipedia has an interesting article about the plural of virus.

In the English language, the standard plural of virus is viruses. This
is the most frequently occurring form of the plural, and refers to
both a biological virus and a computer virus.

The less frequent variations viri and virii are virtually unknown in
edited prose, and no major dictionary recognizes them as alternative
forms. Their occurrence can be variously attributed to hypercorrection
formed by analogy to Latin plurals such as radii; idiosyncratic use as
jargon among a group, such as computer hackers; and deliberate word
play, such as on BBSs (see, e.g.: leet).

To complicate matters further, viri is already used in Latin as the
plural of vir, meaning "man" (thus making viri mean "men")
End quote ----------

Read on for more tasty linguistical nuggets.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list