Conceptual and methodological biases in network models

Many natural and biological phenomena can be depicted as networks. Theoretical and empirical analyses of networks have become prevalent. I discuss theoretical biases involved in the delineation of biological networks. The network perspective is shown to dissolve the distinction between regulatory architecture and regulatory state, consistent with the theoretical impossibility of distinguishing a priori between “program” and “data”. The evolutionary significance of the dynamics of trans-generational and inter-organism regulatory networks is explored and implications are presented for understanding the evolution of the biological categories development-heredity; plasticity-evolvability; and epigenetic-genetic.
Keywords variation  weak linkage  epigenetic inheritance  evolutionary transitions  evo-devo
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