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Biological regulation: controlling the system from within

Bich, Leonardo and Mossio, Matteo and Ruiz-Mirazo, Kepa and Moreno, Alvaro (2015) Biological regulation: controlling the system from within. Biology & Philosophy.

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Abstract

Biological regulation is what allows an organism to handle the effects of a perturbation, modulating its own constitutive dynamics in response to particular changes in internal and external conditions. With the central focus of analysis on the case of minimal living systems, we argue that regulation consists in a specific form of second-order control, exerted over the core (constitutive) regime of production and maintenance of the components that actually put together the organism. The main argument is that regulation requires a distinctive architecture of functional relationships, and specifically the action of a dedicated subsystem whose activity is dynamically decoupled from that of the constitutive regime. We distinguish between two major ways in which control mechanisms contribute to the maintenance of a biological organisation in response to internal and external perturbations: dynamic stability and regulation. Based on this distinction an explicit definition and a set of organisational requirements for regulation are provided, and thoroughly illustrated through the examples of bacterial chemotaxis and the lac-operon. The analysis enables us to mark out the differences between regulation and closely related concepts such as feedback, robustness and homeostasis.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bich, Leonardoleonardo.bich@ehu.es
Mossio, Matteo
Ruiz-Mirazo, Kepa
Moreno, Alvaro
Keywords: Regulation, dynamic stability, control, organisation, dynamical decoupling, feedback
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Dr. Leonardo Bich
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2015 16:26
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2015 16:26
Item ID: 11623
Journal or Publication Title: Biology & Philosophy
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10539-01...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-015-9497-8
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Date: 6 August 2015
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11623

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