Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 53 (3):330-340 (2010)
Because biologists are concerned with life in all its forms, and physicians deal with life and death on a daily basis, it is crucial that they explicitly understand what life is. Nevertheless, a clear idea of what life means remains elusive, and there is no universally accepted definition. Therefore, we offer our own: Life is a self-contained, self-regulating, self-organizing, self-reproducing, interconnected, open thermodynamic network of component parts which performs work, existing in a complex regime which combines stability and adaptability in the phase transition between order and chaos, as a plant, animal, fungus, or microbe. This definition describes life as we know it here on earth and ..
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