What Is Life?
Erwin Schroedinger 1944 (PSU QH331.S3557)
In 1944, they knew genes were coded in molecular structures in paired chromosomes, one per parent - and Schroedinger likened them to "aperiodic crystals". He thought there were 24 pairs, not 23. He argued small size from X-ray damage, and energy density from thermal statistics. He worked from Delbruck's gene model and the Heitler-London forces governing chemical bonding. He argues that living animals are large enough so that the statistical law of large numbers allows predictability in the face of thermal motion and randomness.
Will the law of large numbers limit solid state electronocs?
It is important that researchers like Watson and Crick were inspired by Schrodinger's monograph to learn what is actually going on; Schroedinger was mistaken in some ways, but "correct" enough to lead others to better approximations of the truth.
What Is Life? How Chemistry Becomes Biology
Addy Pross Central 570.1 P9667w 2012
I hoped to learn something new about origins. Nope. The book is a long complaint that it doesn't make sense and we'll never really know. Bleah.
Practically speaking, knowing precisely what happened isn't important, knowing the ways it can happen is. If many routes to life can be simulated in glassware and software, we know something about the frequency of life in the universe and where to (eventually) look for it. If we find very few routes to life under any conditions we can imagine, that will pin down our beginnings and focus the search for life elsewhere. The real question is, "what can we make in the lab, starting with what?" That search is better described in other books.
Useful words: telenomic, pangeome, homochirality (antonym racemic)
What Is Life?
Investigating the nature of life in the age of synthetic biology
Ed Regis Central 570.1 R337W 2008
p009 Porto Marghera Venice Norman Packard ProtoLife s.r.l. + Martin Hanczyc
- p014 Los Alamos physicist Steen Rasmussen
- p015 1987 Los Alamos Workshop ALife - minimal living entity
- p016 PNA peptide nucleic acid, double strand hydrophobic, single hydrophilic
- p020 2003 Programmable Artificial Cell Evolution, PACE consortium EU 6.6MЄ
- p096 "earliest organisms 3.85 GYa, earth solidified 3.9 GYa" - nonsense
- p097 Stuart Kaufmann - autocatalytic network
- p100 Crick, Orgel, Woese: RNA can act like DNA, enzyme, protein
- p101 ribosome is RNA
- p103 Dyson: Origins of Life 1999 Cambridge University Press, double origin
- p104 but of course, the first stage has disappeared and left no evidence ...
- KHL: Melosh fossils on the Moon?
- p115 Darwin: individual selection 1976 Dawkins: gene selection
- p115 Steven Jay Gould, 2002: The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
- Not everything is an adaption, physics and chemistry constrains
- p116 Ernst Mayr, 2001: What Evolution Is
- p120 Kaufman: "Natural selection is always acting. The natural history of life is some form of marriage between self-organization and selection
- p122 Wolfram: pigmentation patterns as cellular automata
- p127 Paul Berg, Stanley Cohen, Herbert Boyer Stanford/UCSF 1973, transfer of gene sequences between species
- p129 Leroy Hood, Mike Hunkapiller, Applied Biosciences, DNA synthesizer early 1980s.
p132 2003 Venter & Hamilton Smith, phiX174 5386 base pairs
p134 2006 Blue Heron Biotechnology Bothell, denovo synth $1.60/bp
- p157 Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan book; What is Life
- p158 Edouard Machery philos.sch: "the project of defining life is either impossible or hopeless" - yup ... to philosophers!