Biochemical Cellular Processes

This project I am doing in GBB investigates how biophysics affects cell division and the self-replicating process inside a cell.

All life on Earth, probably all life in general, is able to replicate itself. We provide a general model to explain how a set of non-self-replicating chemical reactions coupled together into a system which is able to self-replicate as a whole.


We find specific chemical systems that exhibit self-replication and show that these systems are common and emerge often. These results start to explain the origins of prebiotic evolution.

Community ecosystems at very different levels of biological organisation often have similar properties. We develop a bottom-up model of consumer–resource interactions, in the form of an artificial ecosystem "number soup", which reflects basic properties of many bacterial and other community ecologies. 

 

For example, 1) communities self-organise so that all available resources are fully consumed; 2) the evolved ecosystems are often "robust yet fragile", with keystone species required to prevent the whole system from collapsing; 3) a useful ecological concept---species loop---could be developed, which can be considered as a higher level unit of selection than individual species.

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