A model of epigenetic evolution based on theory of open quantum systems

Syst Synth Biol. 2013 Dec;7(4):161-73. doi: 10.1007/s11693-013-9109-3. Epub 2013 Jun 18.


We present a very general model of epigenetic evolution unifying (neo-)Darwinian and (neo-)Lamarckian viewpoints. The evolution is represented in the form of adaptive dynamics given by the quantum(-like) master equation. This equation describes development of the information state of epigenome under the pressure of an environment. We use the formalism of quantum mechanics in the purely operational framework. (Hence, our model has no direct relation to quantum physical processes inside a cell.) Thus our model is about probabilities for observations which can be done on epigenomes and it does not provide a detailed description of cellular processes. Usage of the operational approach provides a possibility to describe by one model all known types of cellular epigenetic inheritance.

Keywords: Cellular epigenetic evolution; Epigenetic markers; Neo-Darwinism; Neo-Lamarckism; Open quantum systems; Quantum-like operational model.