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What is the smallest microorganism known?
I was just reading about a tiny microorganism a hundred times smaller than a virus, called a prion, it is thought to cause disease such as scrapie in sheep. It has no detectable amount of nucleic acid, and it is not known how it can operate with out that.
Is there anything smaller or less formed that also operates and has an effect?
asked in biology



athenabs13ohe answers:

Seeems to be the virus. but there is a dispute about this.

The many biologists consider viruses to be non-living because they lack a cellular structure and cannot metabolize by themselves, requiring a host cell to replicate and synthesise new products. A minority of scientists hold that because viruses do have genetic material and can employ the metabolism of their host, they can be considered organisms. The smallest RNA viruses in terms of genome size are small retroviruses such as rous sarcoma virus with genomes of 3.5 kb and particle diameters of 80 nm. The smallest DNA viruses are the hepadnaviruses such as Hepatitis B, at 3.2 kb and 42 nm; parvoviruses have smaller capsids, at 18-26 nm, but larger genomes, at 5 kb. The smallest DNA bacteriophage is the Phi-X174 phage, thought to be larger than Hepatitis B, at about 4 kb. [1]. It is important to consider other self replicating genetic elmenets such as satelliviruses, Viroids and Ribozymes.
The Porcine circovirus 2 is a single stranded DNA virus having a capsid diameter of 17 nm
The smallest organism found on Earth can be measured using a variety of different methods, and can be defined as the smallest by volume, mass, height, or length. Because there is some dispute over what the definition of life is and what entities qualify as organisms, the actual "smallest organism" (microorganisms) may be unclear. A further complication is the incomplete nature of scientific knowledge: it is possible that the smallest organism has yet to be discovered.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallest_organisms


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