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KLI Brown Bag
From Molecules to Ecologies: Hierarchical Communication in Living Systems
Luis Emilio BRUNI (Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Copenhagen)
2005-07-01 13:45 - 2005-07-01 13:45
KLI for Evolution and Cognition Research, Altenberg, Austria
Organized by KLI

Topic description:
In the extensive reconceptualization of the nature and organization of genome architectures that has taken place at the turning of the 20th century, the communication potential between genomes has become of the highest importance. The entire set of genomes of all living organisms has been defined as the "genome space." Just as we are bound to bear in mind that all manifestations of life are historical entities, we must keep in mind also that all living entities are alive at the same moment. We could call this synchronic manifestation the "global phenotype." So we need to consider the mutual semiotic constitutivity of the global genome and its phenotypical counterpart. Genomes don't walk around by themselves and they don't do anything by themselves. This is why instead of on individual genes, proteins, organism, or species, I put the emphasis on "systems of correspondences" as the main co-evolutionary units. How do communication systems evolve? We must not forget that evolution itself is a communication process. We can observe an incipient trend that considers biology as a science of "sensing." Biologists from different sub-disciplines are assigning increasing importance to the "informational processes" in living systems and paying more attention to the "context" in experimental biology (e.g., from quorum sensing to info-chemicals to signal transduction in general). Current research in signal transduction networks provides an opportunity to conceptually link molecular, physiological and ecological approaches. How can we relate the different emergent levels of informational processes and semiotic contexts in developmental trajectories? How are interpreting systems formed at these levels? How is "information" conveyed through the continuum of the genealological and ecological hierarchies?