Chance in Living Systems

  • Alain Pavé


Randomness is an integral part of certain biological and ecological processes, and has been for nearly all of the 4 billion years that living systems have been evolving. Indeed, as we will see, the processes that, from the gene to the ecosystem, bring about randomness produce biological diversity. This is “chance as creator” (Lestienne, 1993) and it is also, perhaps, thanks to this diversification that Life has been able to continue on Earth, despite the risks it runs, as proven by the catastrophes that have been sprinkled throughout the history of our planet. We must return here to Monod’s brilliant discussion on Chance and Necessity in the living world. The fundamental question is to know whether chance is necessary. And, if so, then the question arises: how is the process that brings it about selected to produce the diversity that, quite simply, permits Life to go on in an environment that is itself uncertain?


Biological Diversity Sexual Reproduction Living System Competitive Exclusion Neutral Theory 
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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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Lyon and CNRSLyonFrance

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