Title

Formalizing Theories Of Development: A Fugue On The Orderliness Of Change

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2014

Published In

Towards A Theory Of Development

Abstract

This chapter looks at developmental biology as performance. Each animal inherits score (the DNA), mechanisms for interpreting of the score, and mechanisms for improvisation should the score be deficient. Developmental causation is found to be both upwards from the genome, downward from the environment, and laterally between cells. Developmental plasticity, organicism, phenotypic heterogeneity, symbiotic co-development, and cytoplasmic localization are each examples of causation from the environment downward. Stereocomplementary relationships are the key components of most developmental interactions. These interactions can be placed into a formal language of graph theory. Morphogenesis can be depicted in the general structure, where nouns cover tissues, molecules and networks and verbs describe processes such as moves, differentiates, grows and apoptoses. This manner of depicting development emphasizes the distributed nature of causality in morphogenesis and can be annotated with associated information or IDs (e.g. cell types, publications, gene-expression data) that link to external online resources that may be regularly updated. This graph approach portrays dynamic processes as the drivers of developmental momentum, and, since the same processes are used many times during development, they can be viewed as modules whose underlying networks are genomic subroutines.

Published By

Oxford University Press

Editor(s)

Edited By A. Minelli And T. Pradeu

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