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The general characteristics of viruses are:

  1. Viruses are infective microorganisms and are widely distributed in nature. They are much smaller in size than bacteria usually about 20-400 nm.
  2. Viruses are acellular entities i.e. they do not have cytoplasm or any cell organelles such as mitochondria, ribosome, lysosome etc.
  3. They have only one nucleic acid either DNA or RNA. However, some viruses have both.
  4. Viruses do not have an independent metabolism. They cannot multiply outside the living cell.
  5. They are relatively simple in structure consisting of Nucleic Acid core surrounded by protein coat.
  6. Viruses do not have the power of growth and division
  7. Smaller viruses can be crystallized
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