Growth and Replication of Cells and Other Living Organisms.

Fundamental Physical Mechanisms that Govern Nature's Evolvement

 

Preface

 

        Many biologists share opinion that the form of biological objects influences their growth and replication. This opinion had many followers in the previous decades. However, no complete and really convincing studies have been done, and no quantitative models have been developed to firmly support this hypothesis. As a result of such development, and given impressive achievements in the molecular biology in the last decades, this camp weakened and eventually abandoned their trenches. In the recent decades, the staggering successes of genetics, cellular and molecular biology discovered so many particular biochemical mechanisms directly or meditatively affecting the growth and replication of cells and organisms, that the overall perception of this complex phenomenon overwhelmingly swung to the opposite side rejecting any other growth factors except purely biological. This is quite normal situation with us, humans, exploring the course of life jumping from one opposite to another.
On the other side, the following consideration, which has had many profound supporters beginning from Aristotle, continues to be true. Natural phenomena exist in Nature continuously, they are not (and cannot be principally!) separated from all other natural factors potentially influencing a particular phenomenon. The influence of these factors can be really small, but it must present anyway. With regard to the growth processes, the physical factors cannot be even small because of their omnipresence on this scale of sizes, and universality of the growth phenomena. So, the growth of living organisms principally has to be a multifactor phenomenon. The issue is to find what factors influence, and how. To do this, we need quantitative apparatuses adequately modeling growth phenomena. The growth should be considered as an entity belonging to the whole realm of Nature, which does not have these strict boundaries as we, humans, often impose to Nature, but includes all factors from different areas in their harmonic, optimal and compatible coexistence.
Here, we discover that the surface-volume unity of a living organism presents a fundamental physical mechanism that also defines the growth and replication besides their genetic, epigenetic, and biochemical mechanisms, and surely some others we are not aware about yet. We derive a general mathematical equation describing the growth, and apply it first to cells, analyzing experimental results and appropriate cellsí models; then we generalize this mechanism for other biological objects such as organs and multicellular living organisms.
The model is well supported by experimental results on Amoeba growth, development of trophectodermal cells in pigsí blastocysts, cellularization of the syncytial blastoderm of Drosophila, etc. We discovered also a new growth suppression mechanism based on the cellsí form. The introduced growth mechanism has a general nature and acts as a placeholder, within which biochemistry growth and replication mechanisms deploy. We think the results might have diverse theoretical and practical implications in biology and medicine, but they are not going to be recognized any soon. The pendulum of current public opinion has a high momentum these days on the side of molecular biology, and it will take a while when it begins to move back under the weight of many facts and phenomena unexplained from purely biological perspective. Maybe then, this material will get more attention. Anyway, we decided to throw the seeds of this knowledge on the presently unfriendly soil in a hope that some of them will miraculously survive and will grow up some day, in the same way, as the seeds from the old sack grew up when Robinson Caruso just emptied it. (We still believe in stories, even if we have grown up a long time ago; but thatís our human nature!)
The last note is an apology for the presentation style. The reader will encounter spots where argumentation is not perfect, too concise, or not elaborate enough. In fact, this book briefly presents the core idea and the main mathematical equation of growth with supporting proofs. This style may not convey enough proofs to convince strong adherents of a purely biological growth paradigm. (Logic can reshape beliefs as much as a toothpick can reshape a diamond. Logical proofs are for knowledge, not for beliefs.)
This book still is rather a hypothesis announcement, although attentive and thoughtful reader will find enough worthwhile points and sound considerations. A more elaborate and voluminous book will follow, which hopefully will compensate for the brevity of this one, and fill the canyons of suspicion to make the whole landscape of these conceptual approach more friendly, and potentially habitable.

 

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Last modified: 04/25/15