Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researcher Dr Robyn Araujo has developed new mathematics to solve a longstanding mystery of how the incredibly complex biological networks within cells can adapt and reset themselves after exposure to a new stimulus.
“Proteins form unfathomably complex networks of chemical reactions that allow cells to communicate and to ‘think’ — essentially giving the cell a ‘cognitive’ ability, or a ‘brain’,” she said. “It has been a longstanding mystery in science how this cellular ‘brain’ works.
“We could never hope to measure the full complexity of cellular networks — the networks are simply too large and interconnected and their component proteins are too variable.
“But mathematics provides a tool that allows us to explore how these networks might be constructed in order to perform as they do.
“My research is giving us a new way to look at unravelling network complexity in nature.”
“I studied all the possible ways a network can be constructed and found that to be capable of this perfect adaptation in a robust way, a network has to satisfy an extremely rigid set of mathematical principles. There are a surprisingly limited number of ways a network could be constructed to perform perfect adaptation.
“Essentially we are now discovering the needles in the haystack in terms of the network constructions that can actually exist in nature. Paper. (open access) – Robyn P. Araujo, Lance A. Liotta. The topological requirements for robust perfect adaptation in networks of any size. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04151-6 More.
Amazing how the plants, using these “unfathomably complex” networks (how long would that take to evolve, relying only on Darwinian evolution?) found their way to the right mathematical configuration. This sounds far more like structuralism (an underlying pattern, based on physics and chemistry, controls evolution) than Darwinism.
See also: A pattern of laws of tooth development identified