The ten commandments of Systems Biology
I just noticed this post on imechanica.org that is reporting news coming from the 5th European Conference on Complex System which is taking place in Dresden, Germany. It seems that Prof. Nobel’s attracted the attention of a great part of the audience with his talk about his revolutionary views about system. These are the axioms in Systems Biology that he described as real Commandments:
Commandment 1 (C1): Gene itself has no functions.
It is actually the cooperation and system of genes lead to the function of living things.
C2: Transmission of information is NOT one-way
Traditionally we think that gene decide protein -> pathway -> sub-cellular -> cell->tissue->organ->body. It is totally wrong that we can start with gene, proteins and then build everything. It is doomed to fail. Gene expression is also decided by the cell culture and proteins to translate them. There is no magic gene/ genes to cause Cancer, homosexuality, selfishness or high blood pressure. All functions and malfunctions of human being in all level are system properties emerging from the network and interaction of elements.
C3: DNA is not sole transmitter of inheritance
It is quite anti-Darwinism and pro-Lamarkism. But there are some scientific evidences for that. More can seen in article: Jane Qiu (2006), Unfinished symphony, Nature, 441, 143-145
C4: Theory of biology Relativity
We need to understand the interactions at all level to understand the real functions of living things. We can not unlock nature’s myth only from bottom-up strategy. That is, we can not understand the organism only from gene level up to cell level etc. We have to understand it from organ regulating cell or even gene as well.
C5: Gene ontology will fail without high-level insight
It is very mis-leading to find the causes of cancer from the selection of genes without clear understanding the physiology of cancer and evolution theory of organs. Gene is called a blueprint of life. It is wrong. Gene is NOT the book of life. If it is the book, it is the book with huge gap
which can not be read at all.
C6: There is not “genetic program”
Gene itself is not a program of life, it is only the database of life. There is NO program written in the gene. The reading of this database come from the cell and protein to transcript and translate them.
C7: There is no program at any other level
Life is like a well-coordinated concert but without conductor. Further reading “The art of Gene”, Enrico Coen ( Oxford Univ Press, 1999)
C8: No program from any level, including brain
C9: Life is the self integrated process, not an object or substance.
C10: There are many more to be discovered, the theories of biology do NOT yet exist. Seeking theory/ies is real challenge in system biology.