Anti-Chance. A Reply to Monod's Chance and Necessity by E. Schoffeniels

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A, ß , . . , F are electron d o n o r s or a n immediate source of chemical energy while I/, V, . . , Ζ are terminal electron acceptors. Intermediates between the immediate energy source, for example A a n d the sink U, are not represented for the sake of clarity of the scheme. They must however be considered as energy sources or as intermediate sinks able to p r o d u c e new metabolic sequences, or the divergence or convergence of existing metabolic p a t h w a y s . T h e rectangle s u r r o u n d i n g the metabolic sequences represents a n ecological niche.

Thermal agitation continually changes the configuration of a solution which thus passes from one arrangement to another having approximately the same energy content. In a biological system another important factor may be considered and this is metabolism which, by continually changing the nature of the molecules in solution, automatically modifies the nature of secondary bonds which can be formed. The formation of secondary bonds between molecules in solution requires the presence of complementary surfaces according to the lock and key principle: there must be a cavity on one molecule complementary to a group projecting from another molecule.

Seventh proposition. In all biological systems chemical reactions are catalysed by enzymes. t B. P u l l m a n a n d A. P u l l m a n , Quantum Biochemistry, Interscience, N e w York, 1963. 36 ANTI-CHANCE An enzyme is a protein specific for a given reaction. It does not modify the position of equilibrium, and catalyses only reactions which are thermodynamically possible. Its function is to accelerate the reaction. The activity of certain enzymes is controlled by different agents introducing a great flexibility into the transformations which molecules can undergo.

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