Project News

October 6
Is one of biology’s perennial themes ready for a fresh look?

There are interesting, unresolved issues about how function, purpose, and allied concepts are related. What’s been missing is a systematic interdisciplinary conversation that includes biologists interested in phenomena like agency, directionality, and goal-directedness, and the conceptual frameworks that have been bubbling up in philosophy. There’s real potential to do new kinds of science.

September 27
Research on purpose: new model combines philosophy and science

How should we understand goal-oriented behavior and the evolution of function across diverse living systems? Professor Alan Love is leading a new global cohort program that seeks to articulate more precise concepts, develop innovative formal models and accurate measurement methods, and foster new scientific research related to purposiveness in living systems. The three-year effort includes 24 projects from across the globe.

September 2
An idea with bite: Why the selfish genes metaphor remains a powerful thinking tool

The ‘selfish gene’ persists for the reason all good scientific metaphors do: it remains a sharp tool for clear thinking. J Arvid Ågren writes in Aeon.

August 2
"Self-organization in embryonic development: myth and reality": Relationships between physical and evolved types of developmental self-organization

Using the examples of gastrulation, somitogenesis, and limb skeletal development, this chapter provides instances of, and a conceptual framework for understanding, the relationships between physical and evolved types of developmental self-organization. Stuart A. Newman writes in Quantitative Biology.

August 2
"Genes used together are more likely to be fused together in evolution by mutational mechanisms"

This mutational hypothesis offers to explain both evolutionary parallelism and recurrence in disease of gene fusions under one umbrella. Here, we test this hypothesis using bioinformatic data. Evgeni Bolotin, Daniel Melamed, and Adi Livnat write in bioRxiv.