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The Beginning of Human Life Form

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The Beginning of Human Life Form

As science and technology advance, an understanding of the origin of life becomes a feasible possibility. Artificial life research seeks to mimic life and to gain knowledge of the origin of life through reenacting it. This research strives to create the simplest possible “organism” that fulfills all of the requirements of life.

These researchers define life as that which can evolve, self-reproduce, metabolize, adapt to environmental changes, and, ultimately, die. A fundamental concept behind research attempts is emergent properties, those that arise in more complex levels and are not predictable from the properties of lower hierarchical levels. Researchers use two approaches to create protolife: the “bottom up” approach strives to create life from nonliving components, while the “top down” approach attempts to simplify living cells to create the simplest possible cell and thus give a glimpse of a possible form of the first living cell. The “bottom up” approach seems to be the more widely attempted method because it is believed that if nature had to start with simple building blocks, we should do the same.

There are two theories about the order in which life emerged; “one […] assumes the primacy of metabolism and cellular organization [while] the other […] assumes the primacy of reproduction and genetic information” (Lifson). Thus, much relevant research focuses on determining whether the origin of life began with self-replicating, information storing molecules (such as RNA or PNA) or with other molecules such as lipids or proteins (which form, for instance, encapsulating membranes). Whatever the order in which these characteristics evolved, there are three components a protocell m...

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