CiteWeb id: 19690000033

CiteWeb score: 3495

DOI: 10.1016/0022-5193(69)90015-0

Proto-organisms probably were randomly aggregated nets of chemical reactions. The hypothesis that contemporary organisms are also randomly constructed molecular automata is examined by modeling the gene as a binary (on-off) device and studying the behavior of large, randomly constructed nets of these binary “genes”. The results suggest that, if each “gene” is directly affected by two or three other “genes”, then such random nets: behave with great order and stability; undergo behavior cycles whose length predicts cell replication time as a function of the number of genes per cell; possess different modes of behavior whose number per net predicts roughly the number of cell types in an organism as a function of its number of genes; and under the stimulus of noise are capable of differentiating directly from any mode of behavior to at most a few other modes of behavior. Cellular differentation is modeled as a Markov chain among the modes of behavior of a genetic net. The possibility of a general theory of metabolic behavior is suggested.