The Entropy of Replication

Even life has to obey the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the amount of Entropy, essentially, the degree of disorder, can only increase in a closed system. Increases in entropy in some region must be balanced by increases in other region, or else by the conversion of useful energy into “heat,” that is no longer able to do further work. Therefore, every “ordering” process, including the self-replication of an bacterium can be assigned a minimum amount of energy required for that process. Although the sun is constantly radiating energy down on Earth, collecting and using it is not a simple task. Life has found ways to economize and reproduce copies without consuming much more than the theoretical limit. 

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Author: lnemzer

Assistant Professor Nova Southeastern University

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