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We have argued previously [Szoke , FEBS Lett. , 18–20 (2003); Curr. Chem. Biol. , 53–57 (2007)] that energy utilization and evolution are emergent properties based on a small number of established laws of physics and chemistry. The relevant laws constitute a framework for biology on a level intermediate between quantum chemistry and cell biology. There are legitimate questions whether these concepts are valid at the mesoscopic level. Such systemsfluctuate appreciably, so it is not clear what their efficiency is. Advances in fluctuation theorems allow the description of such systems on a molecular level. We attempt to clarify this topic and bridge the biochemical and physical descriptions of mesoscopic systems.


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