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RE: Mice given bat-like forelimbs through gene switch

Jura wrote:

> One could argue that viruses are single celled 

No.  One could *not* argue that.  Viruses are acellular entities.  Viruses 
infect the cells of organisms (including, among others, our own), but they are 
not cells themselves.  Whether or not viruses qualify as "organisms" is a 
separate issue.  In either case, viruses are not "single celled".

> the part they are missing that constitutes life is a
> metabolism, not a coating), 

Viruses have a protein coat (the capsid); but they are not cells.

> I'm amazed that I am the only one who seems to have
> come across this separation of organism from life form
> on this list. I'm really not making any of this stuff
> up.

I don't think you're making this up either.  Rather, your undertanding of what 
the term "organism" means appears to be a consequence of reading certain texts 
that give the impression (either by accident or design) that an organism is 
defined to be a multicellular living entity, with certain subsets of cells 
specialized as organs.  However, the passages you quote never actually mandate 
this particular definition.  You're reading far too much into them.

> From: Principles of Anatomy and Physiology
> http://books.google.com/books?id=qGp3HQe2B_4C&dq=tissue+level+organization&q=organism&pgis=1#search
> "Cells are the basic structural and functional units
> of the organism."
> From: Modern Biology
> http://books.google.com/books?id=E_ooNitL-pkC&pg=PT334&dq=tissue+level+organisation&lr=&sig=2VG2cteryNt1tay-HLW5y4Cw_rQ#PPT50,M1
> "6. Organism level
> In an organism various organ systems are integrated to
> perform the life activities. A complex multicellular
> organism, such as human being [sic], represents an
> exremely high level of organisation."
> From: Plant Biomechanics: An Engineering Approach to
> Plant Form & Function.
> http://books.google.com/books?id=l3bRJVMbNMcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=plant+biomechanics&lr=&sig=7Thj07MFyWBdGedcSFWhNLdPJHY#PPA34,M1
> "Much of current theory regarding development and
> evolution depends on the idea that the cell is the
> fundamental biological unit. This concept is part of
> the intellectual legacy of the cell theory that
> implicitly considers every organism a republic
> composed of essentially independent cells (see Buss
> 1987, for example). True, many growth processes are
> best studied at the level of the cell, which may be a
> convenient surrogate when the behaviour of the
> protoplast is hard to see, but the cell theory has led
> to the idea that the concept of the cell and the
> concept of the organism are logically interchangeable.
> Nothing can be further from the truth."
> From: Biology: A Functional Approach.
> http://books.google.com/books?id=OT-O2DJXrMwC&pg=PP1&dq=biology+a+functional+approach&lr=&sig=SSiAOSc-est4KXgJctfKZL43F9A#PPA14,M1
> "The cell theory states that the cell is the basic
> unit of an organism, the whole organism being little
> more than a collection of independent cells; the
> organismal theory states that the whole organism is
> the basic unit, the cells being incidental sub-units."

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