Biologists Find New Rules for Life at the Edge of Chaos by Brandon Keim

In the space between order and chaos, a zone usually described with the mathematics of impending avalanches and crystallizing liquids, scientists are finding new rules for life.

They're researching the dynamics of criticality, where one system transforms rapidly into another. Scientists have studied such behavior in physical systems for decades; some have theorized that it might be found in living systems too, perhaps underlying some of biology's fundamental and largely unexplained phenomena: how a few interacting genes shape an organism's development, and how networked neurons give rise to complex cognitive functions.

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