Navigation Links
What is life? New answers to an age-old question in astrobiology
Date:1/13/2011

New Rochelle, NY, January 13, 2011Biologists have been unable to agree on a definition of the complex phenomenon known as "life." In a special collection of essays in Astrobiology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., leaders in the fields of philosophy, science, and molecular evolution present a variety of perspectives on defining life. Tables of content and a free sample issue are available online.

Why is a definition of life so important yet so elusive? As David Deamer, Guest Editor and Research Professor of Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz, writes in his Introduction, a definition is needed to help determine what is and is not life as scientists begin to develop artificial life forms in the laboratory and, in the future, dispatch exploratory rovers that investigate what appear to be life forms on other planets.

Mark Bedau, Reed College (Portland, OR) and the University of Southern Denmark (Odense), relies on the Program-Metabolism-Container (PMC) model to define minimal chemical life. He supports his belief that this integrated triad of chemical systems is all that is needed for a living organism to maintain its existence, grow, reproduce, and evolve, in the essay entitled, "An Aristotelian Account of Minimal Chemical Life."

Antonio Lazcano, National Autonomous University of Mexico, and colleagues present an historical perspective of the many definitions of life put forth over the years and why they have been unsatisfactory, in the essay, "The Definition of Life: A Brief History of an Elusive Scientific Endeavor."

Steven Benner, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution and The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology (Gainesville, FL), explores the various definitions of life popular in the astrobiology community and how each is connected to a "theory of life." In the essay "Defining Life," Benner describes how chemical structures capable of Darwinian evolution might be useful as universal biosignatures.

Finally, an essay adapted from the writings of deceased Ukranian scientist Sergey Tsokolov asserts that feedback loops should be an essential component of any definition of life. Life could not exist in the absence of negative feedback, concludes Tsokolov in the essay "A Theory of Circular Organization and Negative Feedback: Defining Life in a Cybernetic Context."

David Deamer commented, "These essays represent a remarkable effort on the part of the authors. We asked them to address a question that has challenged some of the great minds in biology, including Schrdinger himself, who initiated the discussion in 1944 with his book entitled "What Is Life?" Our authors rose to the challenge, and their ideas and perspectives are genuinely new. It was a pleasure to work with them and help them wrestle with this difficult and complex problem." Deamer is the new Senior Editor in charge of essays on timely topics for Astrobiology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Vicki Cohn
vcohn@liebertpub.com
914-740-2156
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Is organic farming good for wildlife? It depends on the alternative
2. What came first in the origin of life? A study contradicts the metabolism first hypothesis
3. Swine researchers seek answers to fibers low digestibility
4. LSUHSC pediatric weight expert provides obesity trinity answers
5. Studying hair of ancient Peruvians answers questions about stress
6. Researcher looks for answers about unique disease-resistant gene
7. Aurora B answers an XIST-ential question
8. New supercomputer to reel in answers to some of Earths problems
9. New UCLA study raises questions about genetic testing of newborns
10. To be or not to be endangered? Listing of rare Hawaiian coral species called into question
11. Scientists question fisheries health test
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
What is life? New answers to an age-old question in astrobiology
(Date:2/8/2016)... Republic , February 8, 2016 ... global payment platform which presents innovation for clients, ... Authentication feature called VoiceKey. --> Worldcore ... which presents innovation for clients, comfort and unbeatable ... VoiceKey. --> Worldcore is ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... The field of Human Microbiome research ... popular hubs of the biotechnology industry. While the ... of human microbiota, have garnered a lot of ... space has literally exploded in terms of both ... focuses on biomedical aspects of research, development, and ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... 3, 2016 --> ... report "Automated Fingerprint Identification System Market by Component (Hardware ... (Banking & Finance, Government, Healthcare, and Transportation) and Geography ... market is expected to be worth USD 8.49 Billion ... 2015 and 2020. The transformation and technology evolution from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... , ... Global Stem Cells Group, a world ... Cells Network (GSCN) to distribute exosome injection and other biological products to stem ... Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Puerto ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Md. , Feb. 10, 2016  The Maryland ... Busch , has announced that University of Maryland School ... PhD, MBA and University of Maryland Medical System President ... of the "Speaker,s Medallion," the highest honor given to ... of Delegates. Dean Reece and Mr. ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... -- IsoRay, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), a medical technology company ... for the treatment of prostate, brain, lung, head and ... for the second quarter and six months of fiscal ... --> --> Revenue was $1.19 ... ended December 31, 2015, a 12% increase compared to ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 2016 , ... HOLLOWAY AMERICA, a leading custom stainless steel ... Chapter 21st Annual Vendor Exhibition on Thursday, February 18, 2016. The Rocky Mountain ... annual event, which will run from 3:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: