Entendrons-nous un jour les symphonies intégrales de gènes ?
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Both the catalogue of cloned genes and the information on interactions between them are accumulating at an increasing rate, Although geneticists and biochemists are beginning to unravel the complexity of some biological systems, our capacity to tackle the relationships between components of these systems remains limited. Still we may have much to gain by drawing less linear relationships between genes and their effects, and by turning instead towards interdisciplinary approaches to seek more integrated interpretations. Complex biological processes have a long evolutionary history which is reflected in the capacity of genes to integrate information stemming from diverse sources. Thus an increase in complexity of a biological process tends to be accompanied by more interplay between the network of genes which influence this process and the environment in which it takes place. Selective forces which tune the expression of complex genetic systems appear to operate not only at local and time specific levels, but also at highly integrated levels, which are strongly dependent on external factors. The study of the concept of consciousness, as what may correspond to the most complex biological process, illustrates well the limitations of an approach which would put too much emphasis on genetics alone. [References: 8]
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Hutter, P, Entendrons-nous un jour les symphonies intégrales de gènes ?, Med Sci (Paris), 2000, Vol. 16, N° 1; p.135-40