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Biological rhythms as organization and information.

Lloyd, David and Rossi, Ernest L. 1993. Biological rhythms as organization and information. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 68 (4) , pp. 563-577. 10.1111/j.1469-185x.1993.tb01244.x

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While it is generally acknowledged that modern science began with the quantification of time in the measurement of linear physical processes in space by Galileo and Newton, the biological sciences have only recently developed appropriate experimental and mathematical methods for the description of living systems in terms of processes of non-linear, recursive dynamics. We now recognize that living organisms have patterns of exquisitely timed processes that are as intricate as their spatial structure and organization. Self-similarities of life processes in time and space have evolved to generate an ensemble of oscillators within which analogous functions may be discerned on many different time scales. The increasing complexity of periodic relationships on and between the many levels of biological organization are uncovered by current research. Recent efforts to reformulate the foundation of physics from the quantum to the cosmological level by using the concept of information as the common denominator integrating time, structure and energy remind us of an apparently analogous suggestion in the chronobiological literature which also describes the periodic dynamics of living systems as information processing. In this paper we review the periodic processes of living systems on all levels from the molecular, genetic and cellular to the neuroendocrinological, behavioural and social domains. Biological rhythms may be conceptualized as the evolution of ever more complex dynamics of information transduction that optimize the temporal integrity, development, and survival of the organism.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1464-7931
Date of Acceptance: 18 August 1993
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 15:01

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