A new article in Nature – International Weekly Journal of Science by Philip Ball, reveals scientists are testing the boundaries of thermodynamics by replicating the common gut bacterium Escherichia coli, which typically takes about 20 minutes to duplicate itself in good conditions.


Is it possible? Biological physicist Jeremy England at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge estimates that bacteria are impressively close — within a factor of two or three — to the limiting efficiency of replication set by the laws of physics.

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