Re: Life in the Lab -- Fox and the Nobel Prize
Wed, 5 May 1999 23:14:00 EDT

In a message dated 5/5/99 10:01:14 AM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

> Death is an essential feature of something that is alive. If it does not
> die, then it was not a material entity that was previously alive.

Death is not a characteristic of life, it is the cessation of life as you
pointed out. Things that are alive certainly can die, but you cannot define
life by describing what it is not, which is what you are trying to doing.
Before we can say whether Fox's protocells can die, we have to be able to
show that they are alive. Life is characterized by cellularity, metabolism,
reproduction and response to external stimuli. Since protocells possess all
these characteristics then they must alive. If they are alive then they must
be able to die. That is simple logic. But you do not establish the presence
of life by showing it can be taken away.

Kevin L. O'Brien