Linear Causation Schemes in Post-genomic Biology: The Subliminal and Convenient One-to-one Genotype-Phenotype Mapping Assumption

José Dávila-Velderrain, Elena Álvarez-Buylla Roces


Abstract | In this essay we question the validity of basic assumptions in molecular biology and evolution on the basis of recent experimental data and through the lenses of a systems and nonlinear perspective. We focus our discussion on two well-established foundations of biology: the flow of information in molecular biology (i.e., the central dogma of molecular biology), and the “causal” linear signaling pathway paradigm.Under both paradigms the subliminal assumption of a one-to-one genotype-phenotype mapping (GPM) constitutes an underlying working hypothesis in many cases. We ask if this is empirically sustainable in post-genomic biology. We conclude that when embracing the notion of complex networks and dynamical processes governing cellular behavior — a view now empirically validated — one-to-one mapping can no longer be sustained. We hypothesize that such subliminal and sometimes explicit assumption may be upheld, to a certain degree, because it is convenient for the private appropriation and marketing of scientific discoveries. Hopefully, our discussion will help smooth the undergoing transition towards a more integrative, explanatory, quantitative and multidisciplinary systems biology. The latter will likely also yield more preventive and sustainable medical and agricultural developments, respectively, than a reductionist approach.

Texto completo:



Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

INTER DISCIPLINA, Vol. 9, No. 25, septiembre-diciembre 2021, es una publicación cuatrimestral electrónica, editada por la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, 04510, Ciudad de México, a través del Centro de Investigaciones Interdisciplinarias en Ciencias y Humanidades (CEIICH), Torre II de Humanidades 4º piso, Circuito Escolar, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán 04510, Ciudad de México, <>, ( Editor responsable: Ricardo Lino Mansilla Corona. Reserva de Derechos al Uso Exclusivo No.04-2015-062512120000-203, otorgado por el Instituto Nacional del Derecho de Autor, ISSN electrónico 2448-5705, ISSN impreso 2395-969X. Responsable de la última actualización de este número: Isauro Uribe Pineda (CEIICH-UNAM).
Fecha de la última actualización: 13 de octubre de 2021. Servicios que indexan a INTER DISCIPLINA: Clase, Latindex, Conacyt y SciELO.
Las opiniones expresadas por los autores no necesariamente reflejan la postura de los editores. Prohibida la reproducción total o parcial de los contenidos e imágenes de la publicación sin la previa autorización por escrito de los editores responsables.