Homeostasis as the Mechanism of Evolution

Biology (Basel). 2015 Sep 15;4(3):573-90. doi: 10.3390/biology4030573.


Homeostasis is conventionally thought of merely as a synchronic (same time) servo-mechanism that maintains the status quo for organismal physiology. However, when seen from the perspective of developmental physiology, homeostasis is a robust, dynamic, intergenerational, diachronic (across-time) mechanism for the maintenance, perpetuation and modification of physiologic structure and function. The integral relationships generated by cell-cell signaling for the mechanisms of embryogenesis, physiology and repair provide the needed insight to the scale-free universality of the homeostatic principle, offering a novel opportunity for a Systems approach to Biology. Starting with the inception of life itself, with the advent of reproduction during meiosis and mitosis, moving forward both ontogenetically and phylogenetically through the evolutionary steps involved in adaptation to an ever-changing environment, Biology and Evolution Theory need no longer default to teleology.

Keywords: cell-cell signaling; development; diachronic; embryogenesis; epigenetics; evolution; homeostasis; phylogeny; scale-free; teleology.