The Interrelations between
A Semiotic Contribution to
the Evo:Devo Debate
Department of Biology
Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Phone: 57-1-3165000 Ext. 11313
Mailing address: A.A. 330413.
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Seemingly opposite views of evolution and development that conflict over the role assigned to either or structure/function, genes/environment, random/directed variations, innate/acquired characteristics, instructive/selective information, self-organization/natural selection, are still hotly debated. This conflict results from the self-referential loop present in the ontic (internal/external) and epistemic (individual-local/population-global) cuts, that together contribute to integrate developmental and evolutionary theories. It is assumed that development and evolution are non-programmed open ended processes of information increase. Organisms are modeled as Evolving Developing Agents that codify environmental information and possesses a general transformative tendency to reach a functional compromise between: a) Increments of phenotype’s uniqueness (stability and specificity), and b) Anticipation to environmental changes. Accordingly, changes in mutual information content between the Phenotype/Environment drag subsequent changes in mutual information content between Genotype/Phenotype and Genotype/Environment at two parallel and interwoven scales: individual life cycle (ontogeny) and species time (phylogeny) respectively. Developmental terminal additions along with the minimization of developmental steps must be positively selected. This approach shows how the six Peircian space/time/function relations described by Taborsky provide a conceptual framework that favors this unifying view.
Keywords: Genotype (G), Phenotype (P), Environment (E), development, evolution, information, self-reference, Evolving Developing Agents (EDA), semiosis.