The bulletin of mathematical biophysics

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 245–260 | Cite as

A relational theory of biological systems

  • Robert Rosen
Article

Abstract

The relational phenomena exhibited by metabolizing systems may be considered as special cases of those exhibited by a more general class of systems. This class is specified, and some of tis properties developed. An attempt is then made to apply these properties to a theory of metabolism by suitable specialization. A number of biologically significant theorems are obtained which apply directly to the theory of the free-living single cell. Among the results obtained are the following: On the basis of our model, there must always exist a component of the system which cannot be replaced or repaired by the system in the event of its inhibition or destruction. Under certain conditions, a metabolizing system possesses a component the inhibition of which will completely terminate the metabolic activity of the system. Furthermore a number of other diverse phenomena, such as the effects of a deficient environment, encystment phenomena, and even an indication of why a metabolizing system which represents a cell should possess a nucleus, follow in a straightforward fashion from our model.

Keywords

Block Diagram Directed Path Relational Theory Input Material Environmental Input 
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

© University of Chicago 1958

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Rosen
    • 1
  1. 1.Committee on Mathematical BiologyThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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