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Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2015 Jun;45(1-2):249-55. doi: 10.1007/s11084-015-9434-5.

Emergence of coding and its specificity as a physico-informatic problem.

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Department of Physics, University of Auckland, PB 92019, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand,


We explore the origin-of-life consequences of the view that biological systems are demarcated from inanimate matter by their possession of referential information, which is processed computationally to control choices of specific physico-chemical events. Cells are cybernetic: they use genetic information in processes of communication and control, subjecting physical events to a system of integrated governance. The genetic code is the most obvious example of how cells use information computationally, but the historical origin of the usefulness of molecular information is not well understood. Genetic coding made information useful because it imposed a modular metric on the evolutionary search and thereby offered a general solution to the problem of finding catalysts of any specificity. We use the term "quasispecies symmetry breaking" to describe the iterated process of self-organisation whereby the alphabets of distinguishable codons and amino acids increased, step by step.

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