InterJournal Complex Systems, 95
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [95]
Submission Date: 971006
Many to One Mappings as a Basis for Life
Author(s): Roland Somogyi

Subject(s): CX.3

Category: Brief Article


While attempting to explain the origins of life, we first need to consider what we mean by life. Since life is a complex phenomenon, a simple, clear-cut definition may not exist. However, there is a list of criteria that help us to determine whether a system is living. This study is centered on one of these criteria, namely that an organism must retain minimal stability and growth in a fluctuating and diverse environment. I refer to this as a many to one mapping. Environmental fluctuations of a wide range of parameter values must map to a narrow range of intracellular parameters compatible with the viability of the organism. For instance, a primitive proto-organism must be able to tolerate the natural range of fluctuations of extracellular building blocks and energy sources. The ability to utilize various species of extracellular chemical sources would allow survival in a more complex environment, also enabling further spread and growth. In addition, complex metabolisms must also be insensitive to internal fluctuations of chemical species. Finally, distributed signaling systems in multicellular, differentiated organisms must exhibit minimal fidelity in inter- and intracellular information transmission. This criterion is a condition for the reliable coordination of the activities of hundreds to billions of cells during development and in the differentiated organism. We will examine several examples of many to one mappings from primordial origins to error correcting codes in distributed information transmission.

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