Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Information and Living SystemsPhilosophical and Scientific Perspectives$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

George Terzis and Robert Arp

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262201742

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262201742.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use (for details see www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 19 January 2019

Problem Solving in the Life Cycles of Multicellular Organisms: Immunology and Cancer

Problem Solving in the Life Cycles of Multicellular Organisms: Immunology and Cancer

(p.131) 5 Problem Solving in the Life Cycles of Multicellular Organisms: Immunology and Cancer
Information and Living Systems

Niall Shanks

Rebecca A. Pyles

The MIT Press

A significant portion of this chapter discusses the important aspects of the mechanisms and function of information processing in the vertebrate immune system. The main goal of the chapter is the incorporation of our current understanding of information processing and problem solving in biological systems into an evolutionary perspective. Two detailed case studies are presented to this effect; first is adaptive immunity, whereby the immune system has to process information to solve problems in the face of host–parasite coevolution; and second, the dynamics of cancer, whereby lineages of cancer cells evolve adaptations in a complex and hostile biotic environment, ultimately finding ways to solve problems in the face of immunological assault. The chapter concludes with a discussion of why the cases discussed here require a critical reevaluation of the typical accounts of the relationship between evolutionary biology and mechanistic biology.

Keywords:   information processing, vertebrate immune system, problem solving, evolutionary perspective, adaptive immunity, dynamics of cancer, evolutionary biology, mechanistic biology

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.