The phenogenetic logic of life

Nat Rev Genet. 2005 Jan;6(1):36-45. doi: 10.1038/nrg1502.


For nearly a century we have understood that life works through genes, and so have had an elegant theory for general evolution. But this did not explain the kinds of traits that characterize organisms, nor how genes produce them. Advances in recent decades have opened the way for an understanding of the phenogenetic logic or relational principles of life, by which a few basic characteristics of genomes produce biological phenotypes through some basic developmental processes. This logic provides a general explanation of the nature and source of organismal design, and a powerful programme for research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Variation
  • Growth and Development
  • Logic*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Phenotype*