Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Entropy Perspectives of Molecular and Evolutionary Biology

Version 1 : Received: 10 March 2022 / Approved: 11 March 2022 / Online: 11 March 2022 (12:14:52 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 14 March 2022 / Approved: 17 March 2022 / Online: 17 March 2022 (03:37:53 CET)

How to cite: Sabater, B. Entropy Perspectives of Molecular and Evolutionary Biology. Preprints 2022, 2022030170. Sabater, B. Entropy Perspectives of Molecular and Evolutionary Biology. Preprints 2022, 2022030170.


Attempts to find and quantify the supposed low entropy of organisms and its preservation are revised. Absolute entropy of the mixed components of non-living biomass (around -1.6 x 103 J K-1 L-1) is the reference to which other entropy decreases would be ascribed to life. Compartmentation of metabolites and departure from the equilibrium of metabolic reactions account for 1 and 40-50 J K-1 L-1, respectively, decreases of entropy and, though small, are distinctive features of living tissues. Intense experimental and theoretical investigations suggest that no other living feature contributes significantly to the low entropy associated to life. Macromolecular structures, despite their informational relevance for life, do not supply significant decreases of thermodynamic entropy. The photosynthetic conversion of radiant energy to biomass energy accounts for the most of entropy (2.8 x 105 J K-1 carbon kg-1) produced by living beings. The comparative very low entropy produced in other processes (around 4.8 x102 J K-1 L-1 day-1 in human body) must be rapidly exported outside as heat to preserve the low entropy decreases due to compartmentation and non-equilibrium metabolism. The trend to minimize the rate of production of entropy could explain selective pressures in biological evolution and the rapid proliferation of cancer cells.


cancer; cell compartmentation; evolutionary biology; information; metabolism; thermodynamics


Biology and Life Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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