As more information accumulates on the detailed dynamics of life processes, emphasis on steady state behaviour gives way to the recognition that the organism is a multi-oscillator. Systems biology takes account of the controls and balances on inputs and outputs between the environment and the open system of the functioning organism. The matching of the system to its periodic environment performed by biological clocks (circadian, tidal, lunar, annual) is belatedly acknowledged and exploited in applied biomedicine, even as detailed mechanisms continue to be elucidated. Ancestral shorter-period (ultradian) oscillations, rhythms and clocks are all-pervasive in intracellular regulation and control. Yeast in continuous culture shows all these characteristics as well as population coherence. Temporal organisation of tissues, organs and of the whole organism; its construction, operation and maintenance are extensions of these dynamic principles.
circadian rhythms; ultradian rhythms; cell and tissue dynamics
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