Life

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Terrestrial Life, Microorganism, Plant (Flower, Tree), Animal

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life : an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction — Webster

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Life is a characteristic distinguishing physical entities having biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased, or because they never had such functions and are classified as inanimate. Various forms of life exist, such as plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaea, and bacteria. The criteria can at times be ambiguous and may or may not define viruses, viroids, or potential artificial life as “living”. Biology is the primary science concerned with the study of life, although many other sciences are involved.

The definition of life is controversial. The current definition is that organisms maintain homeostasis, are composed of cells, undergo metabolism, can grow, adapt to their environment, respond to stimuli, and reproduce. However, many other biological definitions have been proposed, and there are some borderline cases of life, such as viruses. Throughout history, there have been many attempts to define what is meant by “life” and many theories on the properties and emergence of living things, such as materialism, the belief that everything is made out of matter and that life is merely a complex form of it; hylomorphism, the belief that all things are a combination of matter and form, and the form of a living thing is its soul; spontaneous generation, the belief that life repeatedly emerges from non-life; and vitalism, a now largely discredited hypothesis that living organisms possess a “life force” or “vital spark”. Modern definitions are more complex, with input from a diversity of scientific disciplines. Biophysicists have proposed many definitions based on chemical systems; there are also some living systems theories, such as the Gaia hypothesis, the idea that the Earth itself is alive. Another theory is that life is the property of ecological systems, and yet another is elaborated in complex systems biology, a branch or subfield of mathematical biology. Abiogenesis describes the natural process of life arising from non-living matter, such as simple organic compounds. Properties common to all organisms include the need for certain core chemical elements to sustain biochemical functions. — Wikipedia

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EurekAlert! - Biology The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  • Research sheds light on a novel disease mechanism...
    on May 20, 2018 at 4:00 am

    (Biochemical Society) Research published in the journal Clinical Science suggests that an immune signalling protein called interleukin (IL)-26 is increased among chronic smokers with lung disease and this involvement reveals disease mechanisms of interest for developing more effective therapy for these hard-to-treat patients. […]

  • Exercise to stay young: 4-5 days a week to slow...
    on May 20, 2018 at 4:00 am

    (The Physiological Society) Participating in exercise 4-5 days per week is necessary to keep your heart young, according to new research published in The Journal of Physiology. These findings could be an important step to develop exercise strategies to slow down such aging. […]

  • Nanoparticles derived from tea leaves destroy...
    on May 20, 2018 at 4:00 am

    (Swansea University) Nanoparticles derived from tea leaves inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells, destroying up to 80 percent of them, new research by a joint Swansea University and Indian team has shown. The team made the discovery while they were testing out a new method of producing a type of nanoparticle called quantum dots. These are tiny particles which measure less than 10 nanometers. A human hair is 40,000 nanometers thick. […]

  • The dark side of our genes -- healthy aging in...
    on May 18, 2018 at 4:00 am

    (Forschungsverbund Berlin) In a paper published in the journal Nature Review Genetics an international team of five scientists collate the evidence for the mismatch between past evolutionary adaptation and our modern lives. They also ask whether natural selection linked to modernization might reduce globally the burden of some chronic diseases. […]

  • CENTECH's Propulsion Program will help Innodem...
    on May 18, 2018 at 4:00 am

    (McGill University) CENTECH, a Montreal-based technology incubator, announced earlier that it has selected a company founded by Dr. Etienne de Villers-Sidani for its Propulsion Program, which helps the most innovative start-ups move from the initial development phase to commercializing their products and services on the international market. Dr. de Villers-Sidani is a researcher and neurologist at Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) and member of the Center for Research on […]