New concepts may prove necessary to profit from the avalanche of sequence data on the genome, transcriptome, proteome and interactome and to relate this information to cell physiology. Here, we focus on the concept of large activity-based structures, or hyperstructures, in which a variety of types of molecules are brought together to perform a function. We review the evidence for the existence of hyperstructures responsible for the initiation of DNA replication, the sequestration of newly replicated origins of replication, cell division (...) and for metabolism. The processes responsible for hyperstructure formation include changes in enzyme affinities due to metabolite-induction, lipid-protein affinities, elevated local concentrations of proteins and their binding sites on DNA and RNA, and transertion. Experimental techniques exist that can be used to study hyperstructures and we review some of the ones less familiar to biologists. Finally, we speculate on how a variety of in silico approaches involving cellular automata and multi-agent systems could be combined to develop new concepts in the form of an Integrated cell (I-cell) which would undergo selection for growth and survival in a world of artificial microbiology. (shrink)
What is biological complexity? How many sorts exist? Are there levels of complexity? How are they related to one another? How is complexity related to the emergence of new phenotypes? To try to get to grips with these questions, we consider the archetype of a complex biological system, Escherichia coli. We take the position that E. coli has been selected to survive adverse conditions and to grow in favourable ones and that many other complex systems undergo similar selection. We invoke (...) the concept of hyperstructures which constitute a level of organisation intermediate between macromolecules and cells. We also invoke a new concept, competitive coherence, to describe how phenotypes are created by a competition between maintaining a consistent story over time and creating a response that is coherent with respect to both internal and external conditions. We suggest how these concepts lead to parameters suitable for describing the rich form of complexity termed hypercomplexity and we propose a relationship between competitive coherence and emergence. (shrink)
Argumentation is a very fertile area of research in Artificial Intelligence, and various semantics have been developed to predict when an argument can be accepted, depending on the abstract structure of its defeaters and defenders. When these semantics make conflicting predictions, theoretical arbitration typically relies on ad hoc examples and normative intuition about what prediction ought to be the correct one. We advocate a complementary, descriptive-experimental method, based on the collection of behavioral data about the way human reasoners handle these (...) critical cases. We report two studies applying this method to the case of reinstatement (both in its simple and floating forms). Results speak for the cognitive plausibility of reinstatement and yet show that it does not yield the full expected recovery of the attacked argument. Furthermore, results show that floating reinstatement yields comparable effects to that of simple reinstatement, thus arguing in favor of preferred argumentation semantics, rather than grounded argumentation semantics. Besides their theoretical value for validating and inspiring argumentation semantics, these results have applied value for developing artificial agents meant to argue with human users. (shrink)
This paper focuses on innovation in the context of business–non-governmental organization (NGO) partnerships for corporate social responsibility (CSR). While different aspects of business–NGO partnerships have been studied, the role of innovation and its potential implications for partnership outcomes have so far not been systematically explored. The paper defines innovation in simple and concrete terms and synthesizes from the literature what can be considered as critical ingredients to foster social alliance innovation. The paper posits in turn that these ingredients correspond closely (...) to the conception of social capital and offers a consolidated framework that helps in probing around these ingredients and social capital in accounting for innovative partnership outcomes. The empirical part consists of a comparative analysis of six case studies of business–NGO collaboration in the context of CSR in the United Kingdom. The evidence presented makes it clear that strategic partnerships are more readily capable of innovation and that social capital as an umbrella concept is very promising in explaining the differential success and performance of social alliances and central to understanding the dynamics of social alliance innovation and value creation. (shrink)
The severe shortage of organs for transplantation and the continual reluctance of the public to voluntarily donate has prompted consideration of alternative strategies for organ procurement. This paper explores the development of market approaches for procuring human organs for transplantation and considers the social and moral implications of organ donation as both a gift of life and a commodity exchange. The problematic and paradoxical articulation of individual autonomy in relation to property rights and marketing human body parts is addressed. We (...) argue that beliefs about proprietorship over human body parts and the capacity to provide consent for organ donation are culturally constructed. We contend that the political and economic framework of biomedicine, in western and non-western nations, influences access to transplantation technology and shapes the form and development of specific market approaches. Finally, we suggest that marketing approaches for organ procurement are and will be negotiated within cultural parameters constrained by several factors: beliefs about the physical body and personhood, religious traditions, economic conditions, and the availability of technological resources. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface; Introduction; Part I. Global Health, Definitions and Descriptions: 1. What is global health? Solly Benatar and Ross Upshur; 2. The state of global health in a radically unequal world: patterns and prospects Ron Labonte and Ted Schrecker; 3. Addressing the societal determinants of health: the key global health ethics imperative of our times Anne-Emmanuelle Birn; 4. Gender and global health: inequality and differences Lesley Doyal and Sarah Payne; 5. Heath systems and health Martin McKee; Part (...) II. Global Health Ethics, Responsibilities and Justice: Some Central Issues: 6. Is there a need for global health ethics? For and against David Hunter and Angus Dawson; 7. Justice, infectious disease and globalisation Michael Selgelid; 8. International health inequalities and global justice: toward a middle ground Norman Daniels; 9. The human right to health Jonathan Wolff; 10. Responsibility for global health? Allen Buchanan and Matt DeCamp; 11. Global health ethics: the rationale for mutual caring Solly Benatar, Abdallah Daar and Peter Singer; Part III. Analyzing Some Reasons for Poor Health: 12. Trade and health: the ethics of global rights, regulation and redistribution Meri Koivusalo; 13. Debt, structural adjustment and health Jeff Rudin and David Sanders; 14. The international arms trade and global health Salahaddin Mahmudi-Azer; 15. Allocating resources in humanitarian medicine Samia Hurst, Nathalie Mezger and Alex Mauron; 16. International aid and global health Anthony Zwi; 17. Climate change and health: risks and inequities Sharon Friel, Colin Butler and Anthony McMichael; 18. Animals, the environment and global health David Benatar; 19. The global crisis and global health Stephen Gill and Isabella Bakker; Part IV. Shaping the Future: 20. Health impact fund: how to make new medicines accessible to all Thomas Pogge; 21. Biotechnology and global health Hassan Masun, Justin Chakma and Abdallah Daar; 22. Food security and global health Lynn McIntyre and Krista Rondeau; 23. International taxation Gillian Brock; 24. Global health research: changing the agenda Tikki Pang; 25. Justice and research in developing countries Alex John London; 26. Values in global health governance Kearsley Stewart, Gerald T. Keusch and Arthur Kleinman; 27. Poverty, distance and two dimensions of ethics Jonathan Glover; 28. Teaching global health ethics James Dwyer; 29. Towards a new common sense: the need for new paradigms of global health Isabella Bakker and Stephen Gill; Index. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue for the importance of incorporating a gendered perspective for the effective development of sustainable agricultural biotechnology systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Priority setting for agricultural policy and project development requires attention to gender issues specific to the demands of agricultural biotechnology. This is essential for successfully addressing food security and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). There has been a great deal of debate and literature on the implications of gender in agricultural development and policy. However, (...) the implications of gender in agricultural biotechnology and have received relatively less attention, especially in SSA. Based on interviews with key stakeholders in agricultural biotechnology across SSA, review of pertinent literature and field observations, we have found that incorporating a gendered perspective is critical for the sustainable development of agricultural biotechnology and requires attention in five areas: the inclusion of women, particularly women farmers, in decision-making around biotech/genetically modified (GM) crop and trait selection; equal representation of women as men in education for agricultural science and in agricultural biotechnology research and development professions; greater involvement of women in extension services and farmers’ associations for successful delivery of information about biotech crops equality between men and women in access to resources for biotech/GM crop cultivation; and increased control for women farmers over biotech/GM crop management and income generation. We explain the consequences of failing to include such gender-responsive considerations into priority setting for agricultural biotechnology development and policy in SSA and provide recommendations for how policy makers and project partners of development initiatives can avoid such oversights. (shrink)
Background Genetic databases are becoming increasingly common as a means of determining the relationship between lifestyle, environmental exposures and genetic diseases. These databases rely on large numbers of research subjects contributing their genetic material to successfully explore the genetic basis of disease. However, as all possible research questions that can be posed of the data are unknown, an unresolved ethical issue is the status of informed consent for future research uses of genetic material. Discussion In this paper, we discuss the (...) difficulties of an informed consent model for future ineffable uses of genetic data. We argue that variations on consent, such as presumed consent, blanket consent or constructed consent fail to meet the standards required by current informed consent doctrine and are distortions of the original concept. In this paper, we propose the concept of an authorization model whereby participants in genetic data banks are able to exercise a certain amount of control over future uses of genetic data. We argue this preserves the autonomy of individuals at the same time as allowing them to give permission and discretion to researchers for certain types of research. Summary The authorization model represents a step forward in the debate about informed consent in genetic databases. The move towards an authorization model would require changes in the regulatory and legislative environments. Additionally, empirical support of the utility and acceptability of authorization is required. (shrink)
Following Karni's seminal work, Walker and other researchers have recently provided gradually convincing evidence that sleep is critical for the consolidation-based enhancement (CBE) of motor sequence learning. Studies in our laboratory using a motor adaptation paradigm, however, show that CBE can also occur after the simple passage of time, suggesting that sleep effects on memory consolidation are task-related, and possibly dependent on anatomically dissociable circuits.
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Many global health issues, almost by definition, do not recognize state borders and therefore require bi-lateral, or more often multi-lateral international solutions. These latter solutions are articulated in international instruments (declarations, conventions, treaties, constitutions of international bodies, etc). However, the gap between formal adoption of such instruments by signatory states and substantive implementation of the articulated solutions can be very wide. This paper surveys a selection of international legal instruments, including those where the sought after positive outcomes have been achieved, (...) and those that have been ineffective, with little or no real progress being made. The paper looks for commonalities, both in the nature of the problems and the forms of the international legal instruments, to seek answers as to why some instruments ultimately succeeded where others failed. It also provides some guidance to law/ treaty makers to help ensure that they frame future instruments in such a way as to maximize the probability that those instruments will have a substantive positive impact on global health and health rights. (shrink)