Seeking the chemical roots of Darwinism: Bridging between chemistry and biology

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42 Scopus citations


Chemistry and biology are intimately connected sciences yet the chemistry-biology interface remains problematic and central issues regarding the very essence of living systems remain unresolved. In this essay we build on a kinetic theory of replicating systems that encompasses the idea that there are two distinct kinds of stability in nature-thermodynamic stability, associated with "regular" chemical systems, and dynamic kinetic stability, associated with replicating systems. That fundamental distinction is utilized to bridge between chemistry and biology by demonstrating that within the parallel world of replicating systems there is a second law analogue to the second law of thermodynamics, and that Darwinian theory may, through scientific reductionism, be related to that second law analogue. Possible implications of these ideas to the origin of life problem and the relationship between chemical emergence and biological evolution are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8374-8381
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number34
StatePublished - 24 Aug 2009


  • Darwinian theory
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular evolution
  • Rna
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry


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