Publication 5173

Fleischaker G. R. & Margulis L. (1986) Autopoiesis and the origin of bacteria. Advances in Space Research 6(11): 53–55. Fulltext at
“Autopoiesis” is the explanatory principle for the organization of living systems, a concept directly applicable to the problematic issues surrounding the origins of life. Because it provides criteria by which a system may be judged as living, autopoiesis can be used to characterize a minimal living system. Once these defining characteristics have been established, we can extrapolate the conditions which would have made possible the emergence of earliest life. Because autopoiesis is a principle of organization, it provides a definition of living systems not restricted to specific mole-cules or structures – that is, to those nucleic-acid/protein/lipid cellular life forms with which we are familiar. Autopoiesis provides the conceptual and systematic framework within which any living system may be identified. In examining living systems, then, autopoiesis gives us a literally “meta-physical” view of life.

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