Definition of Life

Jose Julian Blanc Ju mcbjjbj at LEONIS.NUS.SG
Wed Feb 16 20:56:33 EST 1994

On Wed, 9 Feb 1994, Rafael N Szeinfeld wrote:
> On 9 Feb 1994, Julian Blanc wrote:
> > This definition excludes fire, vortexes, planets, replicating clay crystals, 
> > priests and cellular automata. It includes, however, free replicating 
> > informational molecules such as nucleic acids, which is pretty neat. 
> > 
> > Julian Blanc
> > 
> 	Hi,
> 	I would like if you explain better what you mean with variation 
> and as I suppose, how  these requeriment excludes crystal growth. Indeed, 
> a DNA molecule can not be classified as a living thing.

By variation I mean errors in replication, crossover in meiosis and, in 
general, anything that causes a replicator to be different from its 
parent(s). This doesn't exclude clay crystal growth, but heredity does. 

> 	What if we say that life has nothing special than a crystal (for
> exemple) has ? It's just another form of organization of molecules. 
> Sounds strange ? let's discuss it!

Actually, that's exactly the way I feel about life. Another form of 
molecular organization possessing certain characteristics (replication, 
variation and heredity,) which make it so interesting as to require a 
whole field of study devoted to it. And a definition.

Julian Blanc

More information about the Bioforum mailing list