Essays on Science and SocietySPECIAL ESSAY

The Seven Pillars of Life

Science  22 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5563, pp. 2215-2216
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068489

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Current interest in discovering life in other galaxies and in recreating life in artificial systems creates a desire to define the foundations of life. Naming and elucidating these fundamental principles, their operation, and why they are essential to life allows us to think differently about the goals and therapeutic approaches of current research. In this essay, Koshland defines the seven pillars of life as program, improvisation, compartmentalization, energy, regeneration, adaptability, and seclusion.