Varieties of Living Things

Maureen A. O’Malley

in Processes of Life

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691982
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738111 | DOI:
Varieties of Living Things

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This chapter provides a more general account of the biological individual motivated in large part by the issues raised in chapter 11. The chapter reviews some of the great diversity of lineage-forming entities from prions and viruses, through various more or less dependent symbionts, to microbes and macrobes, and considers the diverse ways in which these combine to form functional systems. The conclusion is proposed that the most fundamental account of a living thing is of a set of metabolically integrated elements of often very diverse lineages. Special attention is given to the pivotal case of viruses.

Keywords: virus; prion; endosymbiont; lineage

Chapter.  11418 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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