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Genes 2012, 3(1), 81-87; doi:10.3390/genes3010081

Looking for the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA)

1
Department of Biosciences, Viikinkaari 1, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
2
Institute of Biotechnology, Viikinkaari 1, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
3
Department of Physics, Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 November 2011 / Revised: 18 December 2011 / Accepted: 29 December 2011 / Published: 9 January 2012
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [81 KB, uploaded 9 January 2012]

Abstract

Genomic sequences across diverse species seem to align towards a common ancestry, eventually implying that eons ago some universal antecedent organism would have lived on the face of Earth. However, when evolution is understood not only as a biological process but as a general thermodynamic process, it becomes apparent that the quest for the last universal common ancestor is unattainable. Ambiguities in alignments are unavoidable because the driving forces and paths of evolution cannot be separated from each other. Thus tracking down life’s origin is by its nature a non-computable task. The thermodynamic tenet clarifies that evolution is a path-dependent process of least-time consumption of free energy. The natural process is without a demarcation line between animate and inanimate. View Full-Text
Keywords: evolution; geodesic; intractability; sequence alignment; the principle of least action; universal ancestor evolution; geodesic; intractability; sequence alignment; the principle of least action; universal ancestor
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Koskela, M.; Annila, A. Looking for the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA). Genes 2012, 3, 81-87.

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