Posted in Biology on  | 1 minute | 3 Comments →

As any good biologist or taxonomist can tell you, there is a fundamental line of demarcation between living and non-living systems. Among others, a few of the prerequisites for a living system of any sort are the abilities to process energy, store information and replicate. A rock, for example, seems to contain information in the form of mineral structure, textual pattern and general shape, but rocks cannot process energy or replicate. Also, all living things must contain amino acids, along with DNA and/or RNA.


  1. Brad


    Arguably, rocks and all objects composed of particles process energy and store physical information. Replication, though, is a pretty reliable line of demarcation. I think I read somewhere that metabolism is another feature of life put on the list.
    This makes me wonder, could computer programs be life forms, just on a different medium? If some are active, store information, replicate (e.g. a virus), and “metabolize” (self-regulate), then are they not life? Temporary modules of code could be amino acids, base programming could be DNA, and the programming that governs its replication could be the RNA. Sounds nifty to me at least.

  2. cl


    Your last paragraph is far more than I want to think about on a rainy Monday morning, but a quick nod of agreement then a question: What would account for geno / pheno type distinction in the analogy?

  3. Brad


    Hmm, I can’t think of anything to account for the distinction.

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