Discussion of all aspects of cellular structure, physiology and communication.
Evolution is based on DNA mutations, viruses needs to be replicated, no matter, whether you call them alive or not. The replication is not perfect. What is so hard to understand about that?
Cis or trans? That's what matters.
Perhaps you should think viruses as biological nanomachines: they are not quite living, lacking many features traditionally associated with living entities (such as their own metabolism), but their blueprinting is based on same principle as that of the "normal" living organisms. This, in turn, gives them the ability to evolve.
you also need to understand that anything that can replicate can be subject to darwinian natural selection. It doesn't even have to have anything to do with biology. Richard Dawkins presents quite a coherent explanation of what I believe to be a pretty accurate model.
"As a biologist, I firmly believe that when you're dead, you're dead. Except for what you live behind in history. That's the only afterlife" - J. Craig Venter
I agree with biohazard that a virus may be considered as a biological nano machine, though may not fit into the standard definition of a living being. The selectivity of a virus to a specific host cell is determined by the matching cell characteristics.
In this context,the infection of bacterial cells by bacteriophages may be of interest. Here is a nice description of how the phages operate on the bacteria cells on a selective basis:
" http://pathmicro.med.sc.edu/mayer/phage.htm "
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