Viruses ARE alive, and they’re older than modern cells, new study suggests
Our best insight yet into where viruses came from.
"After analysing the folds in 5,080 organisms and 3,460 viruses, the researchers found that viruses and modern cells share 442 protein folds, and only 66 are virus-specific. But those 66 are unlike anything seen in cells, which contradicts the hypothesis that viruses simply took all their genetic materials from cells.
This information allowed them to build a rough tree of life, which showed that viruses share a common ancestor with modern cells, but are more ancient.
"Viruses originated from multiple ancient cells ... and co-existed with the ancestors of modern cells," the researchers write in Science Advances.
Of course, this doesn't mean that viruses suddenly fit neatly into our definition of life. But the researchers suggest that the evidence is strong enough that we may simply need to expand our understanding of what it means to be 'alive'.
"Viruses are living," Caetano'-Anollés' graduate student on the project told Jennifer Viegas from Discovery News. "They simply have an atypical mode of living that is slightly different from ours. They are not fully independent. Instead, they move in and out of our bodies, stealing the resources and producing their offspring. In short, we need to broaden how we define life and its associated activities."
 This "contradiction" is contradicted a few sentences later.
 The attachment to "ancient cells" is without any possible evidence; it is purely opinion, possibly injected illegitimately by the journalist.
 If the definition of life is malleable to the extent that it no longer requires internal metabolic stability, or even DNA, or self-replication, then just about anything can be fit into the definition, rendering the definition to be useless as a differentiator.
What is actually known, as in Objective Knowledge, is merely that viruses have 66 protein folds which are not common with modern cells. Nothing more is actual knowledge, it is speculation, obviously grounded in the unquestioned belief in Evolution.