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Organization and variation as theoretical principles for biology

Cover slide from the talk “Organization and variation as theoretical principles for biology”

We argue that a theory of biological systems should rely on organization and variation as theoretical principles. As such, these principles are fundamental for the biological domain: biological systems are organized natural systems that undergo (functional) variation.
In this paper, we provide a specific characterization of each principle, by emphasizing their mutual relations: organization provides the relevant kind of complexity for functional variation to occur; in turn, variation enables the maintenance of organization over time, notably at the evolutionary scale. We will illustrate this discussion with examples from plant morphogenesis.

Montévil, M. 2015. “Organization and Variation as Theoretical Principles for Biology.” In Who Am I? Labex Retreat. http://www.labex-whoami.org/en/news/93-who-am-i-2015-retreat