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1 January 2012 Understanding the Thermodynamics of Biological Order
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Abstract

By growth, in size and complexity (i.e., changing from more probable to less probable states), plants and animals appear to defy the second law of thermodynamics. The usual explanation describes the input of nutrient and sunlight energy into open thermodynamic systems. However, energy input alone does not address the ability to organize and create complex structures or explain life cycles — in particular, growth, regulation and dying in the presence of adequate nutrients. Understanding the roles of macromolecules such as DNA, with their apparent information-processing capability, affords opportunity to understand biological order.

©2012 by National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions Web site at www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp .
Jacob Peterson "Understanding the Thermodynamics of Biological Order," The American Biology Teacher 74(1), 22-24, (1 January 2012). https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2012.74.1.6
Published: 1 January 2012
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