Scaling and Scale Symmetries in Biological Systems

  • Giuseppe LongoEmail author
  • Maël Montévil
Part of the Lecture Notes in Morphogenesis book series (LECTMORPH)


This chapter reviews experimental results showing scaling, as a fundamental form of “theoretical symmetry” in biology. Allometry and scaling are the transformations of quantitative biological observables engendered by considering organisms of different sizes and at different scales, respectively. We then analyze anatomical fractal-like structures, the latter being ubiquitous in organs’ shape, yet with a fair amount of variability. We also discuss some observed temporal fractal like structures in biological time series. In the final part, we will provide some examples of space-time and of network configurations and dynamics.

The few concepts and mathematics needed to understand allometry and scaling are progressively introduced, always accompanied by a discussion of the main experimental findings, either through special cases or more general results. We focus in particular on the robustness of these empirical observations and the corresponding variability.


Scaling variability allometry fractals regulation criticality 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Interdisciplinaire Cavaillès (CIRPHLES) CNRS and Ecole Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  2. 2.Anatomy and Cell Biology Tuft UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations