Does “quorum sensing” imply a new type of biological information?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

When dealing with biological communication and information, unifying concepts are necessary in order to couple the different “codes” that are being inductively “cracked” and defined at different emergent and “de-emergent” levels of the biological hierarchy. In this paper I compare the type of biological information implied by genetic information with that implied in the concept of “quorum sensing” (which refers to a prokaryotic cell-to-cell communication system) in order to explore if such integration is being achieved. I use the Lux operon paradigm and the Vibrio fischeri – Euprymna scolopes symbiotic partnership to exemplify the emergence of informational contexts along the biological hierarchy (from molecules to ecologies). I suggest that the biosemiotic epistemological framework can play an integra¬tive role to overcome the limits of dyadic mechanistic descriptions when relating the different emergent levels. I also emphasise that the realisation of biology as being a “science of sensing” and the new importance that is being ascribed to the “context” in experimental biology corroborate past claims of biosemioticians about a shift from a focus on information (as a material agent of causality) towards a focus on the world of signification.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSign Systems Studies
Volume30
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)221-242
Number of pages22
ISSN1406-4243
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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biology
causality
communication system
ecology
paradigm
communication
science
Cells
Communication
Causality
Signification
Molecules
Ecology
Genetic Information
Paradigm
Epistemological
Biosemiotics

Cite this

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title = "Does “quorum sensing” imply a new type of biological information?",
abstract = "When dealing with biological communication and information, unifying concepts are necessary in order to couple the different “codes” that are being inductively “cracked” and defined at different emergent and “de-emergent” levels of the biological hierarchy. In this paper I compare the type of biological information implied by genetic information with that implied in the concept of “quorum sensing” (which refers to a prokaryotic cell-to-cell communication system) in order to explore if such integration is being achieved. I use the Lux operon paradigm and the Vibrio fischeri – Euprymna scolopes symbiotic partnership to exemplify the emergence of informational contexts along the biological hierarchy (from molecules to ecologies). I suggest that the biosemiotic epistemological framework can play an integra¬tive role to overcome the limits of dyadic mechanistic descriptions when relating the different emergent levels. I also emphasise that the realisation of biology as being a “science of sensing” and the new importance that is being ascribed to the “context” in experimental biology corroborate past claims of biosemioticians about a shift from a focus on information (as a material agent of causality) towards a focus on the world of signification.",
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Does “quorum sensing” imply a new type of biological information? / Bruni, Luis Emilio.

In: Sign Systems Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2002, p. 221-242.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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