Using a statistical model that includes the laws of thermodynamics, and a series of biological measurements, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was recently able to derive how the aforementioned laws apply to life itself.
The model revealed the exact amount of heat that the bacterium Escherichia Coli produces when it replicates, as well as the fact that, thermodynamically speaking, RNA has an easier time replicating than DNA, Technology Review
This study is interesting because biologists have been operating under the assumption that the earliest lifeforms were based on RNA, and not DNA, for a long time. This theoretical study seems to support this point of view.
An interesting consequence of the study, which can be read in full here
, is that approaches like this one could potentially define life itself by using thermodynamic limits. Who knew?