AAT Bioquest

Are viruses eukaryotes?

Posted June 6, 2022


No, viruses are not eukaryotes. Viruses are neither eukaryotes or prokaryotes. Most scientists do not consider viruses to be living things.

A virus is essentially made up of genetic material enclosed by protein. It contains DNA but not much else. They lack other parts such as cytoplasm, ribosomes, and a plasma membrane, which are generally present in all types of cells. Hence they cannot be classified as either eukaryotes or prokaryotes. In addition to having cells, all living organisms are also capable of reproducing by themselves. They also have their own metabolism and are also able to maintain homeostasis independently. Viruses, however, do not have their own metabolism and are not able to maintain homeostasis by themselves. They are also incapable of reproducing outside of a living cell. They reproduce by infecting living hosts and using the hosts’ cells to make copies of their own DNA. For these reasons, viruses are considered to be non-living things or non-cellular organisms. 

Additional resources

Origins and evolution of viruses of eukaryotes: The ultimate modularity

MycoLight™ Live Bacteria Fluorescence Imaging Kit