Self-organizing potential and morphogenetic potential (comparing current embryological and Atlan's views)

Acta Biotheoretica 35 (3) (1986)
Abstract
The concept of self-organizing potential proposed by Atlan, conceived within the framework of information theory', attempts to explain the emergence of the structures and functions of the organism, as well as the concept of morphogenetic potential, conceived in the embryological laboratories. Are the two theses diverging or converging and/or complementary to each other?The paper indicates, first, the context of Atlan's thesis and the meaning of his concepts of self-organization and self-organizing potential in evolutionary systems as well as in individual systems. It then develops an in-depth analysis of these individual systems and attempts to discern, in Atlan's thesis, the respective roles of the genetic factors (first at the initial stage of the system and then in the course of its development) and of the epigenetic factors in the formation of the individual, particularly during morphogenesis. This analysis reveals some difficulties inherent in the theory and induces the author to propose a few additional distinctions.
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