Even the lowly Escherichia coli is anything but simple. A recent paper published in the journal PNAS compares the bacterium’s replication to a self-replicating factory:
“Surprisingly, our analysis of recently measured datasets of E. coli exponentially growing in a stationary medium reveals that the measured distribution of doubling times fits well to the predicted distribution of doubling times of an optimally scheduled self-replicating factory. This suggests that E. coli is optimally scheduling its replication in these media.”
It might be needless to add that the paper had nothing to say about the assumed evolution of this replicating mechanism – or the evolution of anything else.