Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fragmentation and Complexity: For Proteins as Well as Society and Language

Need to look at this new Nature article by Joe Thornton more closely, but there's a great quote about the research in Science Daily. Thornton reconstructs old enzymes to see how they developed. His team found out that a particular enzyme increased in complexity as it LOST functions:

"It's counterintuitive but simple: complexity increased because protein functions were lost, not gained," Thornton said. "Just as in society, complexity increases when individuals and institutions forget how to be generalists and come to depend on specialists with increasingly narrow capacities."

And, as Owen Barfield would say, as languages fragment and specialize as well. Proteins, society, and language, all built from splintering words.

No comments: