Emergent Properties in Biology
I am writing this blog post to connect the ideas of emergence with what we know in biology.
The genotype is encoded in the DNA of the organism which through the transcriptional and translational machinery gets converted into proteins. These proteins interact with each other in signal transduction networks which consist of positive and negative feedback loops. It is these signaling networks which convey the signal from outside a cell to the functionality of the cell.
On the other hand, the proteins interact with the DNA and can regulate switching on/off of genes via epigenetic mechanisms.
So in a cell there are layers of interactions, where each layer instructs the subsequent layer, and the functional property of the cell emerges from the genotype. The layers of cellular processes are epigenetic regulation--->transcription--->translation--->signaling networks --->feedback loops thus forming a complete circuit.
The cells interact with each other forming a tissue and with increasing scales of interactions the organ emerges, followed by the organ system and then the whole body. Thus phenotype emerges from genotype.
The body of the living organism then interacts with the environment and what emerges is the ecosystem of complex interactions which forms a part of the biosphere on earth. Each emergent layer consists of multitude of interactions, which when increase on scale gives rise to the next emergent layer which is more complex than the previous layer.
Thus interactions are fundamental to emergence and form the glue of the living world.