Louie: “Relational Biology of Symbiosis”

Published in the December issue of Axiomathes. The abstract:

I formulate in relational terms the ubiquitous biological interaction of symbiosis. I explicate the topology of the different modes of relational interactions of (M, R)-networks, the entailment diagrams that model the host and the symbiont. These modes all have biological realizations as various categories of symbiotic relationships, ranging from mutualism to parasitism to infection.


I also note the final paragraph of the paper, whereby relational biology leads to a potent result:

Symbiosis—in our general sense of commensalism and parasitism in addition to mutualism—is ubiquitous in the living world and is, indeed, an essential aspect of life itself. It may even be said that competition and symbiosis are the two driving forces of the biosphere. The importance of symbiosis in evolutionary innovation is evident when one understands its role in the determination of phenotypes and genotypes, as illustrated by the various entailment modes between symbiont and host. One may even extend the definition of ‘organism’ to be more than single genetic entities, and include symbiotic units. But in relational biological terms, this generalization is already made: a union of interacting (M, R)-systems (or better, their join in the lattice of (M, R)-systems) is itself an (M, R)-system.



[1] Louie, A. H. 2010. “Relational Biology of Symbiosis”. Axiomathes 20(4):495-509. DOI: 10.1007/s10516-010-9117-9.

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