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Universality in the biological world

posted Aug 9, 2012, 6:57 PM by Michael Breakspear   [ updated Aug 9, 2012, 6:59 PM ]
Biological systems are able to adapt to rapidly and widely changing environments. Many biological organisms employ two distinct mechanisms that improve their survival in these circumstances: Firstly they exhibit rapid, qualitative changes in their internal dynamics; secondly they possess the ability to respond to change that is not absolute, but scales in proportion to the underlying intensity of the environment. In this paper, we study a simple class of noisy, dynamical systems that mathematically represent a very broad range of more complex models. We provide proof-of-principle inversion of this simple model from neurophysiologiocal and gene expression data.