Minimal Life

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Minimal Life

During the past 50 years the concept of minimal life has entered biology in a number of ways starting with the search for the smallest living cell, then the smallest genome, the smallest free living cell, and following on with the minimum defined growth medium and the minimum artificial system capable of growth and replication. What has become clear is that minimality is a concept applicable to both organisms and habitats and thus has an ecological aspect. The time seems right to bring together a group of individuals who have approached these different aspects of minimality in an effort to improve our understanding of the essence of the living state and to explore scientific directions (experimental and theoretical) that will deepen our understanding of biology. Such individuals may cover a broad range from microbiology to physics but must share a strong desire to communicate across the disciplines to seek both empirical generalizations and underlying principles. The kind of meeting envisioned is not a presenting of the latest results but more a serious dialog and attempt to focus on what minimal means in this context and what this has to tell us about biological theory.

Meeting: Arlington, VA, August 11-12, 2009 (Informal reception Sunday, August 9th)

Sara.bradley 03:18, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

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