The definition of life can be interpreted as meeting a set of criteria including: organization, cellular composition, metabolism, responsiveness, homeostasis, development, reproduction, and evolution.
All living things exhibit organization or complexity far greater than their inanimate surroundings. The inability to maintain this characteristic of life leads to disease and death.
Made up of the simplest structures meeting the criteria of life, cellular composition is a requirement of all living things.
In order to carry out many of the other characteristics of life, organisms must exhibit metabolism. This is the ability to bring in nutrients, produce energy, build necessary components, and eliminate waste products.
All living things must also be able to interact with their respective environments and are thus said to display responsiveness.
In interacting with their respectively often dynamically and radically changing environments, living things must be able to maintain a relative homeostasis, or set of stable internal conditions.
Characterized by both differentiation and growth, development is the characteristic of life that explains increased size and functional complexity.
The ability to make additional copies of themselves describes the necessary life characteristic of reproduction .
Species of living organisms will all demonstrate evolution over time as a result of gene mutations and rate of success with the environment.