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PLoS Biol. 2012;10(5):e1001323. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001323. Epub 2012 May 8.

Bit by bit: the Darwinian basis of life.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Biology, Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, United States of America. gjoyce@scripps.edu

Abstract

All known examples of life belong to the same biology, but there is increasing enthusiasm among astronomers, astrobiologists, and synthetic biologists that other forms of life may soon be discovered or synthesized. This enthusiasm should be tempered by the fact that the probability for life to originate is not known. As a guiding principle in parsing potential examples of alternative life, one should ask: How many heritable "bits" of information are involved, and where did they come from? A genetic system that contains more bits than the number that were required to initiate its operation might reasonably be considered a new form of life.

PMID:
22589698
PMCID:
PMC3348159
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pbio.1001323
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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