What is Life?

Free translated after Prof.dr.Steph B.J. Menken

If we talk about the genetology of life, we must determin what life is about. First af all one recognizes life by the existence of complex structures, with several functions. One of the most important is metabolism, (stofwisseling). Substances and energy go into a cel, which makes it live and grow, so it can divide itself and produce waste products. An other characteristic of life is heredity (erfelijkheid). Hereditary material is present in a cel and doubles itself before being devided. Like this singularities can be passed on from one generation to the other.
Life that we know exists mostly of water and carbides (koolstofverbindingen). This is what thrives scientists in their search for life in the universe. Maybe there are other forms of life -use your imagination-, but it’s hard looking for them with the equipment we send of on a rocket or Marslander into the universe. Thats why the search for water and organic substances is still the main target. These substances exist in a chain of one or more carbon atoms, completed with other atoms. Examples of these substances are endosperms (eiwitten), carbohydrates, fats, and also fossile fuel crude (aardolie), which arises from the sediments of plant rests.

Maarten Vanden Eynde
‘Genetologic Research Nr. 13’, 2004 (50cm x 2cm x 18cm)


Chicken or Egg.
In the search for the genetology of life, we stumble on two ‘chicken-or-eggquestions’. De first one is: what was first, heredity or metabolism? And the second one is: what was first, DNA or endosperms? DNA has all the hereditary information, but can not reproduce itself. Endosperms are nescessary to run the proces. DNA has the recepie for it, but endosperms have to be made first. If we start with endosperms, replication can take place, but that doesn’t create heredity, because the basis of that, DNA, is not there. DNA and endosperms are both nescessary for metabolism and heredity.

INTERMEZZO: Kip of ei?
Wat was er het eerst, de kip of het ei? Een onderzoekster uit Cambridge, Massachusetts (V.S.) heeft een antwoord op die vraag gevonden. Zij stuurde twee dozen op naar een postkantoor in New York, een does met een kip en een met een ei. Daarna is ze bliksemsnel per vliegtuig naar dat postkantoor in New York gegaan. Daar kon ze vaststellen dat de kip er het eerst was. Dit onderzoek is gepubliceerd in het hilarische tijdschrift Annals of Improbable Research (annalen van onwaarschijnlijk onderzoek), deel vier, jaargang 2003 (www.improb.com)

Maarten Vanden Eynde
‘Genetologic Research Nr. 16’, 2004 (20cm x 20cm 50cm)