Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 76, Issue 4, pp 185–191

The Evolutionary Origin of Biological Function and Complexity

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00239-013-9556-1

Cite this article as:
Pross, A. J Mol Evol (2013) 76: 185. doi:10.1007/s00239-013-9556-1


The identification of dynamic kinetic stability (DKS) as a stability kind that governs the evolutionary process for both chemical and biological replicators, opens up new avenues for uncovering the chemical basis of biological phenomena. In this paper, we utilize the DKS concept to explore the chemical roots of two of biology’s central concepts—function and complexity. It is found that the selection rule in the world of persistent replicating systems—from DKS less stable to DKS more stable—is the operational law whose very existence leads to the creation of function from of a world initially devoid of function. The origin of biological complexity is found to be directly related to the origin of function through an underlying connection between the two phenomena. Thus the emergence of both function and complexity during abiogenesis, and their growing expression during biological evolution, are found to be governed by the same single driving force, the drive toward greater DKS. It is reaffirmed that the essence of biological phenomena can be best revealed by uncovering biology’s chemical roots, by elucidating the physicochemical principles that governed the process by which life on earth emerged from inanimate matter.


Abiogenesis Dynamic kinetic stability Biological complexity Function Kinetic selection 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryBen Gurion University of the NegevBe’er ShevaIsrael

Personalised recommendations