Manfred Eigen

What is Life - Now?


Abstract

An old question is revisited on the basis of novel thoughts and recent experimental evidence. A general physical theory is emerging that is able to answer key questions regarding:


- the transition from non-life to life,
- the solution of the problem of exponential complexity within polynomial time, and
- a closed mathematical representation of typically biological phenomena.

Experiments with RNA/protein systems as well as with viruses have been performed, that allow for a quantitative testing of the theory. Practical applications concern a new “Evolutionary Biotechnology” that involves selection and high throughput screening on a nanoscale, using automated and computerized equipment. Suggestions for new antiviral strategies have emerged that were successfully tested. The new development can be summarized by the slogan: “Darwin is dead – long live Darwin”.


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