Forming a Definition for LifeAugust 12, 2013 / Written by: Leslie Mullen
What is life? In this interview, Gerald Joyce of the Scripps Research Institute reveals why it’s been so hard for scientists to come up with a definition that encompasses the multiple dimensions of life as we know it. Joyce’s research focuses on the origin of life, and his lab was the first to produce a self-replicating system, composed of RNA enzymes, capable of exponential growth and evolution.
Defining ‘life’ is a seemingly simple question that leads to complex answers and heated philosophical and scientific arguments. Some focus on metabolism as the key to life, others on genetics. If we ever hope to identify life elsewhere in the Universe, we need to understand what separates living creatures from non-living matter.
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