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Why DNA?

From DNA Sequence to Biological Complexity

Author(s): Andrew Travers

ISBN: 9781107697522
Publication Date: 17-02-2022
Regular price £19.99 GBP
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Information is central to the evolution of biological complexity, a physical system relying on a continuous supply of energy. Biology provides superb examples of the consequent Darwinian selection of mechanisms for efficient energy utilisation. Genetic information, underpinned by the Watson-Crick base-pairing rules is largely encoded by DNA, a molecule uniquely adapted to its roles in information storage and utilisation.This volume addresses two fundamental questions. Firstly, what properties of the molecule have enabled it to become the predominant genetic material in the biological world today and secondly, to what extent have the informational properties of the molecule contributed to the expansion of biological diversity and the stability of ecosystems. The author argues that bringing these two seemingly unrelated topics together enables Schrödinger's What is Life?, published before the structure of DNA was known, to be revisited and his ideas examined in the context of our current biological understanding.

  • A modern interpretation of the classic Schrödinger's What is Life?, extending Schrödinger's physical arguments to the modern understanding of DNA-based information systems
  • Explains why DNA is the predominant vehicle for genetic information vehicle how the DNA sequence contains both analogue and digital information
  • Describes how increases in DNA-encoded information, and the mechanisms that enable them, drive increases in biological complexity
  • Presents different perspectives on the evolution of biological complexity, distinguishing between genetically acquired information (DNA) and culturally acquired information