Send to

Choose Destination
Theory Biosci. 2008 Aug;127(3):215-21. doi: 10.1007/s12064-008-0025-0. Epub 2008 Mar 5.


Author information

Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Rd., Santa Fe, NM, 87501, USA.


In order to describe a cell at molecular level, a notion of a "gene" is neither necessary nor helpful. It is sufficient to consider the molecules (i.e., chromosomes, transcripts, proteins) and their interactions to describe cellular processes. The downside of the resulting high resolution is that it becomes very tedious to address features on the organismal and phenotypic levels with a language based on molecular terms. Looking for the missing link between biological disciplines dealing with different levels of biological organization, we suggest to return to the original intent behind the term "gene". To this end, we propose to investigate whether a useful notion of "gene" can be constructed based on an underlying notion of function, and whether this can serve as the necessary link and embed the various distinct gene concepts of biological (sub)disciplines in a coherent theoretical framework. In reply to the Genon Theory recently put forward by Klaus Scherrer and Jürgen Jost in this journal, we shall discuss a general approach to assess a gene definition that should then be tested for its expressiveness and potential cross-disciplinary relevance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center