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Understanding Life: A Bioinformatics Perspective

  • Natalia Szostak (a1) (a2), Szymon Wasik (a1) (a3) (a2) and Jacek Blazewicz (a1) (a3) (a2)

Abstract

According to some hypotheses, from a statistical perspective the origin of life seems to be a highly improbable event. Although there is no rigid definition of life itself, life as it is, is a fact. One of the most recognized hypotheses for the origins of life is the RNA world hypothesis. Laboratory experiments have been conducted to prove some assumptions of the RNA world hypothesis. However, despite some success in the ‘wet-lab’, we are still far from a complete explanation. Bioinformatics, supported by biomathematics, appears to provide the perfect tools to model and test various scenarios of the origins of life where wet-lab experiments cannot reflect the true complexity of the problem. Bioinformatics simulations of early pre-living systems may give us clues to the mechanisms of evolution. Whether or not this approach succeeds is still an open question. However, it seems likely that linking efforts and knowledge from the various fields of science into a holistic bioinformatics perspective offers the opportunity to come one step closer to a solution to the question of the origin of life, which is one of the greatest mysteries of humankind. This paper illustrates some recent advancements in this area and points out possible directions for further research.

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