Theoretical advances are reported on the kinetics and thermodynamics of free and template-directed living copolymerizations. Until recently, the kinetic theory of these processes had only been established in the fully irreversible regime, in which the attachment rates are only considered. However, the entropy production is infinite in this regime and the approach to thermodynamic equilibrium cannot be investigated. For this purpose, the detachment rates should also be included. Inspite of this complication, the kinetics can be exactly solved in the regimes of steady growth and depolymerization. In this way, analytical expressions are obtained for the mean growth velocity, the statistical properties of the copolymer sequences, as well as the thermodynamic entropy production. The results apply to DNA replication, transcription and translation, allowing us to understand important aspects of molecular evolution.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Multiscale modelling at the physics–chemistry–biology interface’.
One contribution of 17 to a theme issue ‘Multiscale modelling at the physics–chemistry–biology interface’.
- Accepted August 1, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.