The Right Stuff:
Appropriate Mathematics for Evolutionary and Developmental Biology
Chrystopher L. Nehaniv (University of Hertfordshire, U.K.)
Günter P. Wagner (Yale University, U.S.A.)
We solicit highest-quality scientific papers reporting original research in the general area of innovative mathematical tools and methods for approaching outstanding problems of biological and related systems. We looking for `the Right Stuff', i.e. appropriate mathematical and computational tools/models for describing, studying, building or understanding fundamental aspects of natural living systems or living systems as-they-could-be (whether carbon-based, digital or otherwise) as opposed to inanimate systems.
Classical mathematical methods of population genetics tend to set out a fixed space of possibilities for the evolution of gene frequencies within a population. Unfortunately, by circumscribing the state-space at the outset, such an approach excludes the possibility of expressing change in developmental mechanisms or new evolutionary innovations such as body plans. While differential equation descriptions have proved crucial for understanding physics and chemistry and aspects of evolution, they have been inadequate as an appropriate language for some key aspects of biological systems. Living systems present special difficulties for such a mathematical treatment to particular problems of (1) death, damage, and development, (2) replication, inheritance and maintenance, (3) the relationship between genetic information and its realization via expression, and (4) the origin and evolution of biological complexity in populations of developing individuals.
The special issue follows the successful Right Stuff Workshop on these topic at the Sixth International Conference on Artificial Life held during Summer 1998 and strives to identify aspects special to living systems outside the scope of classical formal and conceptual tools, that can be treated formally with mathematical tools or computational models appropriate for natural (and artificial) biology.
1 May 1999: Deadline for Submissions
15 July 1999: Notification
Prospective authors are asked to contact one of the special issue editors as soon as possible and to submit their paper for the formal refereeing process by the submission deadline. Contact details of the guest editors are as follows:
Dr. Chrystopher Nehaniv
Interactive Systems Engineering
University of Hertfordshire
Hatfield Herts AL10 9AB
Prof. Günter P. Wagner
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department
165 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06520