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CeNS Colloquium

Place: Kleiner Physik-Hörsaal, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz
Date: 23.10.09, Time: 15:30 h

Information in the prebiotic world

Dr. Irene Chen
Harvard FAS Center for Systems Biology, USA

During the origin of life, the amount of information encoded by replicating systems presumably increased over time, eventually leading to the complex organisms we see today. We address two questions related to this process. 1) How much information could have been encoded in prebiotic replication? The rate at which errors are made during replication imposes a theoretical limit on the amount of information that can be faithfully propagated (Eigen's error threshold). We show how this threshold could be postponed in a realistic prebiotic scenario and estimate the magnitude of this effect in an experimental system. 2) Could chemical mechanisms alone drive an increase in complexity? We suggest how a prebiotic mechanism could predispose the system toward complex sequences.