Virus Taxonomy

Since viruses are not considered life, why is biological taxonomy used to categorize them? This classification system seems to add to the confusion and misrepresentation of their place in nature, doesn't it? 

  • The ICTV Code ( defines the scope of its classification responsibilities in section 3.3. This section begins:

    "The ICTV is responsible for the classification of members of the virosphere. Members of the virosphere include selfish genetic elements, which are replicons that are subject to selective pressures mostly independent of other replicons and hence have distinct evolutionary histories but depend on cellular hosts for energy and chemical building blocks. The relationship between selfish genetic elements and hosts spans the spectrum from mutualism to aggressive parasitism. Typically, MGEs are selfish genetic elements that move between hosts and/or change their integration sites in host genomes. MGEs are distributed among viruses sensu stricto and the remaining replicator space of the virosphere (virus-like entities, such as satellite nucleic acids and viroids, and virus-derived elements, such as viriforms)."