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Beyond Networks: an Organismic Systems Biology for the 21st Century

“Biology is the science of life. And yet, biologists have largely stopped to care about life itself. Many biologists think this is a good thing too. We argue the opposite in our book. A biology that treats living systems as if they were machines, engineered and optimised by evolution, fundamentally misses the point. Recent advances in systems biology allow us to refocus our attention from the molecular composition and genetic architecture of organisms towards their dynamic self-producing organisation. New systems-level approaches allow us to ask how organisms differ from non-living systems, and how this enables and affects their evolution. We view organisms through an explicitly dynamic perspective, as complex interwoven regulatory processes within a closed life cycle. The first part of our book provides the required philosophical and conceptual foundations. The second part focusses on the mathematical and conceptual tools we currently have to study the function and evolution of dynamical regulatory systems, and the last part puts these approaches into an evolutionary context, exploring the grand challenges that lay just beyond the limits of what we can currently do. It is these challenges that an organismic systems biology will tackle in the decades to come.”


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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].