Gibbs free energy as a measure of complexity correlates with time within C. elegans embryonic development

J Biol Phys. 2017 Dec;43(4):551-563. doi: 10.1007/s10867-017-9469-0. Epub 2017 Sep 19.


We investigate free energy behavior in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans during embryonic development. Our approach utilizes publicly available gene expression data, which gives us a picture of developmental changes in protein concentration and, resultantly, chemical potential and free energy. Our results indicate a clear global relationship between Gibbs free energy and time spent in development and provide thermodynamic indicators of the large-scale biological events of cell division and differentiation.

Keywords: Development; Entropy; Gibbs free energy; Protein-protein interaction networks.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / embryology*
  • Kinetics
  • Protein Interaction Maps
  • Thermodynamics