From: Biochmborg@aol.com <Biochmborg@aol.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org
<email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Friday, May 07, 1999 12:05 AM
Subject: Re: Life in the Lab -- Fox and the Nobel Prize
>In a message dated 5/6/99 1:47:03 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
>> I am in the middle of much work and cannot dedicate the time to learn and
>> discuss the interesting issue that we are discussing. I did look at the
>> you mentioned and I found the following:
>> "Life," in this contest is defined as follows: "--- any system which can
>> independently do all four of the following:"
>> 1. "Delineate itself from its environment through the production and
>> maintenance of a membrane equivalent, most probably a rudimentary or
>> quasi-active-transport membrane necessary for selective absorption of
>> nutrients, excretion of wastes, and overcoming osmotic and toxic
>> 2. Capture, transduce, store, and call up energy for utilization (work),
>> 3. Actively replicate, not just passively polymerize or crystallize, and
>> 4. Write, store, and pass along seemingly conceptual information that
>> orders' for what is to be manufactured in the future, and to actually
>> to pass those processes and "factory products" out of linguistic-like
>> (codon) messages ('recipes') into physical biochemical, biological, and
>> thermodynamic reality."
>> Are the protocells of Fox alive according to the above definition?
>Dr. Aristotel Pappelis and Dr. Donald Ugent seem to believe so. Item 1 is
>simply a description of cellularity, tem 2 of metabolism and item 3 of
>reproduction, which are three of the four criteria Fox used (and which his
>protocells demonstrate). Fox's fourth criterion was response to external
>stimuli. The organizers of the webpage Pappelis and Ugent were writing
>didn't use that criterion. Instead they describe what sounds like a
>combination of anabolism (that part of metabolism responsible for
>and transcription/translation. Fox's protocells can synthesize both
>and polynucleotides, but whether they fit the description of item 4 depends
>upon how you interpret it. Not even Fox has claimed that his protocells
>a proto-transcription/translation system, but they didn't need one either.
>His protocells can absorb proteinoids directly from the environment; they
>don't need to make their own. It is therefore possible that item 4 may for
>some part describe more advanced features that did not appear until later
>the history of the origin of life. Their absence would not disqualify a
>protocell from being alive if the protocell didn't need them to live.
>Kevin L. O'Brien