Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):643-658 (2010)
Do trees of life have roots? What do these roots look like? In this contribution, I argue that research on the origins of life might offer glimpses on the topology of these very roots. More specifically, I argue (1) that the roots of the tree of life go well below the level of the commonly mentioned ‘ancestral organisms’ down into the level of much simpler, minimally living entities that might be referred to as ‘protoliving systems’, and (2) that further below, a system of roots gradually dissolves into non-living matter along several functional dimensions. In between non-living and living matter, one finds physico-chemical systems that I propose to characterize by a ‘lifeness signature’. In turn, this ‘lifeness signature’ might also account for a diverse range of biochemical entities that are found to be ‘less-than-living’ yet ‘more-than-non-living’.
|Keywords||tree of life lifeness signature origin of life definition of life protoliving systems protocells LUCA|
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References found in this work BETA
The Origins of Order Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution.Stuart A. Kauffman - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Emergence in Chemistry: Chemistry as the Embodiment of Emergence. [REVIEW]Pier Luigi Luisi - 2002 - Foundations of Chemistry 4 (3):183-200.
Citations of this work BETA
Microbial Diversity and the “Lower-Limit” Problem of Biodiversity.Christophe Malaterre - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):219-239.
What Could Arsenic Bacteria Teach Us About Life?Emily C. Parke - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):205-218.
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