Originally posted by sonhouse
Or it could have been the other way round, virus like creatures first then membranes, etc. Don't know how that would have worked though, since present day viruses need bacteria to reproduce.
Perhaps the way it could happen the other way around is if the viruses started off as very simple by consisting of not much more than genetic material only and 'infected' lifeless microscopes that regularly spontaneously formed in tidal pools but then some viruses evolved to have a symbiotic with those microspheres and, in the process, not only gave them life and made them living cells, but became an inseparable part of the cells while other viruses evolved to simply be parasitic on these new cells?
So I think we now have three credible theories here:
1, viruses evolved from living cells that first turned parasitic then evolved to loose their cytoplasm.
2, living cells evolve from viruses that combined with lifeless microspheres.
3, viruses and cells have independent origins (cells via abiogenesis; viruses via “viroabiogenesis” -which is a word I just made up) and neither one ever evolve from the other.