Indeterminism in the Immune System: The Case of Somatic Hypermutation

Paradigmi 1:49-65 (2011)
One of the fundamental questions of life sciences is one of whether there are genuinely random biological processes. An affirmative or negative answer to this question may have important methodological consequences. It appears that a number of biological processes are explicitly classified as random. One of them is the so-called somatic hypermutation. However, closer analysis of somatic hypermutation reveals that it is not a genuinely random process. Somatic hypermutation is called random because the exact outcome of this process is difficult to predict in practice. The case of somatic hypermutation suggests that there may be no scientific evidence of a single case of ontologically random process in the biological world.
Keywords Determinism  Indeterminism  Philosophy of immunology  Randomness  Somatic hypermutation  Reproducibility
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