Perspectives on Organisms

  title={Perspectives on Organisms},
  author={Giuseppe Longo and Ma{\"e}l Mont{\'e}vil},
  booktitle={Lecture Notes in Morphogenesis},
This chapter reviews experimental results showing scaling, as a fundamental form of “theoretical symmetry” in biology. Allometry and scaling are the transformations of quantitative biological observables engendered by considering organisms of different sizes and at different scales, respectively. We then analyze anatomical fractal-like structures, the latter being ubiquitous in organs’ shape, yet with a fair amount of variability. We also discuss some observed temporal fractallike structures in… 

In search of principles for a Theory of Organisms

This theory would complement the theory of evolution that addresses phylogenesis, and would posit theoretical extensions to accepted physical principles and default states in order to grasp the living state of matter and define proper biological observables.

Theoretical principles for biology: Variation.

From the Century of the Gene to that of the Organism: Introduction to New Theoretical Perspectives

The three main principles that this group proposes for a theory of organisms, namely: the default state, proliferation with variation and motility, the principle of variation and the Principle of organization, profoundly modify biological observables and their theoretical nature compared to the situation in physical theories.

How Future Depends on Past and Rare Events in Systems of Life

The dependence on history of both present and future dynamics of life is a common intuition in biology and in humanities. Historicity will be understood in terms of changes of the space of

A Primer on Mathematical Modeling in the Study of Organisms and Their Parts.

The main aim of this chapter is to facilitate the interaction between biologists and mathematical modelers on the case of cell proliferation and motility in the context of multicellular organisms.

Progress in integrative systems biology, physiology and medicine: towards a scale-relative biology

A review of progress in addressing the challenge to understand and describe the vast complexity and multi-level organisation associated with biological systems is presented, and recent developments within the theoretical framework of scale relativity are reviewed, which offers new insights into the emergence of structure and function.

Aging in a Relativistic Biological Space-Time

Here we present a theoretical and mathematical perspective on the process of aging. We extend the concepts of physical space and time to an abstract, mathematically-defined space, which we associate

Biological organisation as closure of constraints 1

A conceptual and formal characterisation of biological organisation as a closure of constraints is proposed, and how organisational closure can provide an operational tool for marking the boundaries between interacting biological systems is discussed.

Classical, quantum and biological randomness as relative unpredictability

The thesis that randomness is unpredictability with respect to an intended theory and measurement is proposed and various forms of randomness that physics, mathematics and computing science have proposed are discussed.

Rhythms, Retention and Protention: Philosophical Reflections on Geometrical Schemata for Biological Time

In this paper, following the technical approach to biological time, rhythms and retention/protention in Longo and Montevil (Perspectives on organisms: Biological time, symmetries and singularities.



The fourth dimension of life: fractal geometry and allometric scaling of organisms.

Fractal-like networks effectively endow life with an additional fourth spatial dimension, and design principles are independent of detailed dynamics and explicit models and should apply to virtually all organisms.

The origin of allometric scaling laws in biology from genomes to ecosystems: towards a quantitative unifying theory of biological structure and organization

A set of principles based on the observation that almost all life is sustained by hierarchical branching networks, which are assumed to have invariant terminal units, are space-filling and are optimised by the process of natural selection are proposed.

Randomness Increases Order in Biological Evolution

This approach, in particular, focuses on the role of global entropy production and provides a tool for a mathematical understanding of some fundamental observations by Gould on the increasing phenotypic complexity along evolution.

A General Model for the Origin of Allometric Scaling Laws in Biology

The model provides a complete analysis of scaling relations for mammalian circulatory systems that are in agreement with data and predicts structural and functional properties of vertebrate cardiovascular and respiratory systems, plant vascular systems, insect tracheal tubes, and other distribution networks.

Extended Criticality, Phase Spaces and Enablement in Biology

The fractal lung: Universal and species-related scaling patterns

The mathematical theory of renormalization groups provides a description of the harmonically-modulated inverse power-law scaling observed for bronchial tree dimensions observed in different species.

Scaling metabolic rate fluctuations

It is proposed that metabolic rate within individual organisms may be considered as an example of an emergent property of a complex system and test the hypothesis that the probability distribution of fluctuations in the metabolic rate of individuals has a “universal” form regardless of body size or taxonomic affiliation.

Are Biological Systems Poised at Criticality?

This work reviews the surprising successes of this “inverse” approach to statistical mechanics models of biological systems directly from real data, using examples from families of proteins, networks of neurons, and flocks of birds.