Collins Conference Room
Antony Jose (University of Maryland)

Abstract.  Every organism transmits the information for making a similar organism across bottleneck stages that are considered generational boundaries. This bottleneck stage is minimally a single cell, through which two interdependent but distinct stores of information are transmitted from one generation to the next. One store is the well-understood genome sequence that is replicated during cell divisions. The other is a three-dimensional arrangement of molecules that cycles during development such that it is nearly recreated at the start of each generation. Together they form the cell code for making an organism – a union of multiple information stores that coevolve. Our experiments using the nematode C. elegans provide evidence for mechanisms that oppose the evolution of cell codes by enabling recovery from changes in gene expression within the germline. Such homeostatic mechanisms likely underlie the stability of form and function across generations and impel a broader conception of heredity. I will present the beginnings of a framework for the joint consideration of all the heritable information in living systems that may also be useful for the design and analysis of other persistent adapting systems.


Research Collaboration
SFI Host: 
David Wolpert and Chris Kempes

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