Theory in Biosciences

, Volume 132, Issue 3, pp 139–158 | Cite as

Randomness and multilevel interactions in biology

  • Marcello Buiatti
  • Giuseppe Longo


The dynamic instability of living systems and the “superposition” of different forms of randomness are viewed, in this paper, as components of the contingently changing, or even increasing, organization of life through ontogenesis or evolution. To this purpose, we first survey how classical and quantum physics define randomness differently. We then discuss why this requires, in our view, an enriched understanding of the effects of their concurrent presence in biological systems’ dynamics. Biological randomness is then presented not only as an essential component of the heterogeneous determination and intrinsic unpredictability proper to life phenomena, due to the nesting of, and interaction between many levels of organization, but also as a key component of its structural stability. We will note as well that increasing organization, while increasing “order”, induces growing disorder, not only by energy dispersal effects, but also by increasing variability and differentiation. Finally, we discuss the cooperation between diverse components in biological networks; this cooperation implies the presence of constraints due to the particular nature of bio-entanglement and bio-resonance, two notions to be reviewed and defined in the paper.


Classical/quantum randomness Biological randomness Critical transitions Random complexification Entropy production Network constraints Bio-resonance 



We would like to thank warmly the anonymous referee for his/her close analysis and constructive critique of our paper.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EvolutionaryBiology Florence UniversityFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Centre CavaillèsCNRS, Ecole Normale SupérieureParisFrance

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