What life is


Life operates in small steps

The generations of mutations for natural selection, the breakdown of organic food molecules to generate energy to do work are all examples of small steps that together form stable cellular structure and functions. For instance, respiration is a process where sugar is oxidized to generate the energy currency ATP in cells to be used as fuel for almost all cellular processes. To avoid releasing too much energy in one step (like the heat of a burning fire), cellular respiration divides the oxidation into three dozen steps, each step extracting a minuscule portion of the available energy from a sugar (or fat or protein) molecule. Cellular respiration comprises only a small portion of all cellular reactions (metabolism) and it is the thousands of small steps that together constitute a stable cell.

Similarly, evolution proceeds in small steps and the number of trails (mutations) and time available is literally enormous allowing for successful adaptation of a species to changes in the environment. 

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 Copyright © 1999-2011 Lukas K. Buehler