Life’s Dual Nature: A Way Out of the Impasse of the Gene-Centred ‘Versus’ Complex Systems Controversy on Life

  title={Life’s Dual Nature: A Way Out of the Impasse of the Gene-Centred ‘Versus’ Complex Systems Controversy on Life},
  author={Alexis De Ti{\`e}ge and Koen B. Tanghe and Johan Braeckman and Yves Van de Peer},
Living cells and organisms are complex physical systems. Does their organization or complexity primarily rely on the intra-molecular crystalline structure of genetic nucleic acid sequences? Or is it, as critics of the ‘gene-centred’ perspective claim, predominantly a result of the inter- and supra-molecular—thus ‘holistic’—network dynamics of genetic and various extra-genetic factors? The twentieth-century successes in several branches of genetics caused intensive focus on the causal role of… 

The origins and physical roots of life’s dual – metabolic and genetic – nature

It is argued that life’s dual nature runs all the way back to the very dawn and physical constitution of life on Earth, and that the transition from a prebiotic world of relatively simple chemical compounds towards the complex aperiodic and/or informational structure, specificity and organization of biopolymers and biochemical reaction sequences remains a ‘hard problem’ to solve.

Stochasticity in cultural evolution: a revolution yet to happen

It is argued that current evolutionary accounts of cultural change are limited because they do not adopt a systematic stochastic approach, and that the field of cultural evolution would benefit from a Stochastic revolution.



Neo‐Darwinism, the Modern Synthesis and selfish genes: are they of use in physiology?

  • D. Noble
  • Biology
    The Journal of physiology
  • 2011
This article argues that the gene‐centric interpretations of evolution, and more particularly the selfish gene expression of those interpretations, form barriers to the integration of physiological

From DNA- to NA-centrism and the conditions for gene-centrism revisited

The causal implications of central dogma-related issues and the conditions—and their (non)fulfilment—for a more generalised form of gene-centrism extendable to higher levels of biological organisation are explored.

Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution

The book provides historical background to DST, recent theoretical findings on the mechanisms of heredity, applications of the DST framework to behavioural development, implications of DST for the philosophy of biology, and critical reactions to D ST.

Ins and Outs of Systems Biology vis-à-vis Molecular Biology: Continuation or Clear Cut?

It is argued that the distinction between molecular and systems biology is gradual rather than sharp, and the classical challenge in biology to manage, interpret and integrate biological data into functional wholes is further intensified by systems biology’s use of modelling and bioinformatics, and by its scale enlargement.

With ‘Genes’ Like That, Who Needs an Environment? Postgenomics’s Argument for the ‘Ontogeny of Information’

  • K. Stotz
  • Biology
    Philosophy of Science
  • 2006
Even the mere physical existence of a `gene' is dependent on its phenotypic context, and this ‘postgenomic’ reality has implications for understandings of development not as predetermined by genes but as an epigenetic process.

Origins of Order: self-organization and selection in evolution

The structure of rugged fitness landscapes and the structure of adaptive landscapes underlying protein evolution, and the architecture of genetic regulatory circuits and its evolution.

Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life

In Evolution in Four Dimensions, Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb argue that there is more to heredity than genes and offers a richer, more complex view of evolution than the gene-based, one-dimensional view held by many today.

Evolutionary systems biology: links between gene evolution and function.

Evolution in Four Dimensions

The subtitle of the book is Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life; thus, the four dimensions of the title. ‘‘The challenge [this book] offers is not to

What genes can't do

This book reconstructs the history of the gene concept, placing it in the context of the perennial interplay between theories of preformationism and theories of epigenesis, and uses the Gene-D/Gene-P distinction to examine the real basis of biological order and of the pathological loss of order in cancer.