Advances in Systems Biology pp 193-198
The Cell as a Thermostat: How Much does it Know?
- Cite this paper as:
- Bray D. (2012) The Cell as a Thermostat: How Much does it Know?. In: Goryanin I., Goryachev A. (eds) Advances in Systems Biology. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 736. Springer, New York, NY
How does bacterial thermotaxis compare to a simple wall thermostat? Elements with similar function can be found in the two, including a temperature-sensing element, an output switch, and an external control. But they differ in their origins. A thermostat is designed and made by humans and embodies their understanding of seasonal fluctuations in temperature and how these affect room comfort. By contrast, the bacterial system is self-contained and assembles according to information in its genome acquired by evolution. This information is far richer than anything carried by a thermostat and closer to the ‘knowledge’ that higher animals have about the world.