Properties of life

Properties of life

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For anything to be viewed as a living thing, it should have certain characters that fit in the nine properties/characteristics of life. Adaptations are the first property of life, since they allow an organism to transform and respond to their environment. This enables the organisms to suit to the changing ecosystem, habitat, and to have relationships with other organisms. The second characteristics of life is it must have order. Order is the capability of an organism to maintain homeostasis and to do its roles. At the end of the day it means the organism can control itself naturally so that it does not subject itself to physical degeneration. The third characteristic of life is metabolism. Order and Metabolism go together as the Organisms should create energy in order to survive, grow, move and function. The organisms should use the energy to help it with homeostasis. The fourth property of life is motility. Motility is the capability of an organism to move. For animals it means their ability to walk while for plants their ability to shift to the sun. For seeds to disperse and for parasites remove using hosts (Hillis, 2012).

The fifth property of life is development. Development is connected to the capability of an organism to change ontogenetically and grow. Therefore, organisms in their biological form may act very diverse to their sexually mature form. The sixth property of life is responsiveness. Responsiveness is the perception that each and every organism should be able to respond to a stimulus. Thus showing that the organism has the ability to sense and feel its surroundings. Organisms have a variety of responses to several chemical and physical cues found within their environment. The seventh property of life is evolution. Evolution is the capability of a given species to change over time in order to become more fit and suit better to its environment. This happens through genetic changes that are related to adaptations. The eighth property of life is reproduction. Reproduction is the procedure whereby the organism has offspring that produces progeny with common genetic information. Fitness and Reproduction closely connected.

Finally the ninth the Property of life is hereditary. Hereditary is the capacity of an organism to gain characters from their parents and to be able to give this characters to their offspring. Hereditary is linked with reproduction and evolution closely (Johnsen, 2012).

Despite some of these properties relating with prions, viroid like reproduction and viruses they are not considered alive since they are passive and non-responsive. They should encounter cells and their existence is basically at the cells will. Prions, viroids and Viruses, are not alive but they evolve. They invade on a cell and exploit it as they transform rapidly. Depending on the cells they invade and exploit and this occurs rapidly. Therefore, their ‘evolution’ does not happen due to the changes in themselves, but reasonably their host’s transformed responses.


Hillis, D. (2012). Principles of life. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates;

Johnsen, S. (n.d.). The Optics of Life a Biologist’s Guide to Light in Nature.