“In a surprise about E. coli that may offer clues about how human cells operate, the PNAS paper reports that only a handful of dominant metabolic states are found in E. coli when it is “grown” in 15,580 different environments in computer simulations.”
“When it comes to genomes, a great deal of complexity boils down to just a few simple themes,” said Bernhard Palsson, a professor of bioengineering at UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering and co-author of the study, which was made available online Dec. 15. “Researchers have confirmed the complexity of individual parts of biochemical networks in E. coli and other model organisms, but our large-scale reconstruction of regulatory and metabolic networks involving hundreds of these parts has shown that all this genetic complexity yields surprisingly few physiological functions. This is possibly a general principal in many, if not all, species.”
Similar principals have broad application.
1) Thousands of elements interacting in nonlinear dynamic feedback systems.
2) Evolutionary competition with survival of the fittest.
3) Subsets of elements operating together to maintain a specific state. Optimized to support that state.
4) States associated with successful survival strategies.
Applications in low-level neural circuits, high-level thought patterns, knowledge domains, belief systems, and social organizations.