Acta Biotheoretica

, Volume 34, Issue 2–4, pp 125–137 | Cite as

Principles of self-generation and self-maintenance

  • U. An Der Heiden
  • G. Roth
  • H. Schwegler


Living systems are characterized as self-generating and self-maintaining systems. This type of characterization allows integration of a wide variety of detailed knowledge in biology.

The paper clarifies general notions such as processes, systems, and interactions. Basic properties of self-generating systems, i.e. systems which produce their own parts and hence themselves, are discussed and exemplified. This makes possible a clear distinction between living beings and ordinary machines. Stronger conditions are summarized under the concept of self-maintenance as an almost unique character of living systems. Finally, we discuss the far-reaching consequences that the principles of self-generation and self-maintenance have for the organization, structure, function, and evolution of single- and multi-cellular organisms.


Basic Property Clear Distinction Living System Detailed Knowledge Strong Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. An Der Heiden
    • 1
  • G. Roth
    • 1
  • H. Schwegler
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität BremenBremenFed. Rep. Germany

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