EL software de la vida

Puesto que estamos vivos, tendemos a creer que la vida es fácil de entender. En la clasificación aceptada de las ciencias, se dice que la matemática es la reina, y la más difícil de comprender, seguida de la física, la química y, por último, la biología. Pero esa jerarquía científica es falsa y engañosa: ahora sabemos que la biología contiene más matemáticas de lo que nos imaginamos.

Cuando las moléculas ingresaron al entendimiento científico de la vida con el descubrimiento del DNA, la biología trepó un escalón, a la química. Después, con el reconocimiento de los esquemas abstractos que dictan la forma en que los genes se expresan, la biología se acercó aún más a las matemáticas.

La palabra de moda en el estudio de la vida es la biología "de sistemas". Durante mucho tiempo, quienes estudiaban la naturaleza de la vida y la herencia se dividían en dos grupos: los epigenéticos que hacían énfasis en las influencias ambientales sobre los organismos vivos y los preformistas que subrayaban las similitudes entre padres e hijos. La visión epigenética estaba claramente equivocada, ya que algo estable se tenía que transmitir de generación en generación. Pero el enfoque preformista de que la entidad transmitida a través de las generaciones es el organismo entero entraba en conflicto con la imposibilidad de segmentar objetos infinitamente.

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