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Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2008 May;97(1):115-57. Epub 2007 Oct 2.

Scale relativity theory and integrative systems biology: 2. Macroscopic quantum-type mechanics.

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LUTH, CNRS, Observatoire de Paris and Paris Diderot University-Paris VII, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France.


In these two companion papers, we provide an overview and a brief history of the multiple roots, current developments and recent advances of integrative systems biology and identify multiscale integration as its grand challenge. Then we introduce the fundamental principles and the successive steps that have been followed in the construction of the scale relativity theory, which aims at describing the effects of a non-differentiable and fractal (i.e., explicitly scale dependent) geometry of space-time. The first paper of this series was devoted, in this new framework, to the construction from first principles of scale laws of increasing complexity, and to the discussion of some tentative applications of these laws to biological systems. In this second review and perspective paper, we describe the effects induced by the internal fractal structures of trajectories on motion in standard space. Their main consequence is the transformation of classical dynamics into a generalized, quantum-like self-organized dynamics. A Schrödinger-type equation is derived as an integral of the geodesic equation in a fractal space. We then indicate how gauge fields can be constructed from a geometric re-interpretation of gauge transformations as scale transformations in fractal space-time. Finally, we introduce a new tentative development of the theory, in which quantum laws would hold also in scale space, introducing complexergy as a measure of organizational complexity. Initial possible applications of this extended framework to the processes of morphogenesis and the emergence of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cellular structures are discussed. Having founded elements of the evolutionary, developmental, biochemical and cellular theories on the first principles of scale relativity theory, we introduce proposals for the construction of an integrative theory of life and for the design and implementation of novel macroscopic quantum-type experiments and devices, and discuss their potential applications for the analysis, engineering and management of physical and biological systems and properties, and the consequences for the organization of transdisciplinary research and the scientific curriculum in the context of the SYSTEMOSCOPE Consortium research and development agenda.

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