Results are out! Find what you need...fast. Get quick advice or join the chat
Hey there Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Difference Between a pathogen and parasite

Announcements Posted on
One quick question - from of our list, who would you most like to see on TSR doing a Q&A? 23-09-2014
Complete this short survey for a chance to win an iPad mini! 22-09-2014
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Hey everyone ,
    I am doing OCR Biology AS Level and in my text book came across the question:
    describe the differences between a parasite and a pathogen?
    I would answer it as follows:
    A parasite lives on or within the host cell for all of or part of its life, may cause harm to the host or might just weaken it. However, pathogens are disease causing organisms that will definitely cause harm to the cell.

    What do you think of this answer?
    There are answers at the back and the answer provided word by word is:
    A parasite is an organism that lives on or in its host for all or part of its life; it causes harm and gains nutrition from the host. A pathogen is any organism that causes diseases.

    What I don't understand about this answer is why 'gains nutrition from the host' is mentioned as if it is exclusive to the parasite when in fact the pathogen also gains its host's nucelus?

    Would much appreciate some help on this, thanks in advance
    • 10 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    No you're right. The question is stupid - its asking you to compare two completely different words.

    A pathogen is just something that causes disease. It will inevitably get something from the thing it is causing disease to (although i'm not sure the nucleus counts as 'nutrition' per se), however, that is not a defining feature of a pathogen. Its purely about the disease it causes. Compare that to a parasite, where the defining feature is that it gains nutrients from its host. That is why it was emphasised.
    • 16 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by cakefreak)
    Hey everyone ,
    I am doing OCR Biology AS Level and in my text book came across the question:
    describe the differences between a parasite and a pathogen?
    I would answer it as follows:
    A parasite lives on or within the host cell for all of or part of its life, may cause harm to the host or might just weaken it. However, pathogens are disease causing organisms that will definitely cause harm to the cell.

    What do you think of this answer?
    There are answers at the back and the answer provided word by word is:
    A parasite is an organism that lives on or in its host for all or part of its life; it causes harm and gains nutrition from the host. A pathogen is any organism that causes diseases.

    What I don't understand about this answer is why 'gains nutrition from the host' is mentioned as if it is exclusive to the parasite when in fact the pathogen also gains its host's nucelus?

    Would much appreciate some help on this, thanks in advance
    To me its a fair question would be interested to see where you found it textbook cause I havent seen it.
    pathogen is any organism/parasite that causes diseases.

    parasites: any organism that live in or on another living organism (the host)
    parasite cause harm to the host
    some parasite cause harm to the host by taking nutrients from the host-so not all

    cant figure out your angle as to nucleus being nutrients

    not all pathogen gain their host nucleus

    wondered if you are thinking about virus?!:rolleyes:
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by arvin_infinity)
    To me its a fair question would be interested to see where you found it textbook cause I havent seen it.
    pathogen is any organism/parasite that causes diseases.

    parasites: any organism that live in or on another living organism (the host)
    parasite cause harm to the host
    some parasite cause harm to the host by taking nutrients from the host-so not all

    cant figure out your angle as to nucleus being nutrients

    not all pathogen gain their host nucleus

    wondered if you are thinking about virus?!:rolleyes:
    Thanks for your response , the question comes from this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Biology-Stud.../dp/0435691805 and yes sorry I meant nutrients lol. And so is a parasite a type of pathogen because you said "pathogen is any organism/parasite that causes diseases"?
    • 16 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by cakefreak)
    Thanks for your response , the question comes from this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Biology-Stud.../dp/0435691805 and yes sorry I meant nutrients lol. And so is a parasite a type of pathogen because you said "pathogen is any organism/parasite that causes diseases"?
    All Pathogens are parasites not the other way around

    I mean dont try to memorise it but think of it this way : all pathogens live either in or on another living organism and they also cause harm so yeh they are all parasites

    got the same book cant find it tho
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by arvin_infinity)
    All Pathogens are parasites not the other way around

    I mean dont try to memorise it but think of it this way : all pathogens live either in or on another living organism and they also cause harm so yeh they are all parasites

    got the same book cant find it tho
    but pathogens definitely cause harm because that is their defining trait and parasites can live on or in its host for all or part of its life...
    • 12 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by cakefreak)
    Hey everyone ,
    I am doing OCR Biology AS Level and in my text book came across the question:
    describe the differences between a parasite and a pathogen?
    I would answer it as follows:
    A parasite lives on or within the host cell for all of or part of its life, may cause harm to the host or might just weaken it. However, pathogens are disease causing organisms that will definitely cause harm to the cell.

    What do you think of this answer?
    There are answers at the back and the answer provided word by word is:
    A parasite is an organism that lives on or in its host for all or part of its life; it causes harm and gains nutrition from the host. A pathogen is any organism that causes diseases.

    What I don't understand about this answer is why 'gains nutrition from the host' is mentioned as if it is exclusive to the parasite when in fact the pathogen also gains its host's nucelus?

    Would much appreciate some help on this, thanks in advance
    I also do OCR AS Bio, and the first thing that came to my head about the whole nutrients thing was that the female anopheles mosquito is a parasite because it lives off the host to provide protein for it's eggs...so that may be where the acquiring nutrients bit comes from

Updated: February 26, 2012
New on TSR

TSR Freshers' blogs 2014

Read what TSR's freshers have to say as they head off to uni

Article updates
Reputation gems:
You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.