Building on a range of disciplines - from biology and anthropology to philosophy and linguistics - this book draws on the expertise of leading names in the study of organic, mental and cultural codes brought together by the emerging discipline of biosemiotics.
The book's 18 chapters present a range of experimental evidence which suggests that the genetic code was only the first in a long series of organic codes, and that it has been the appearance of new codes - organic, mental and cultural - that paved the way for the major transitions in the history of life.
While the existence of many organic codes has been proposed since the 1980s, this volume represents the first multi-authored attempt to deal with the range of codes relevant to life, and to reveal the ubiquitous role of coding mechanisms in both organic and mental evolution. This creates the conditions for a synthesis of biology and linguistics that finally overcomes the old divide between nature and culture.
From the reviews: "Biosemiotics purports to be a new synthesis of existing theories and compilations of theories addressing evolutionary bases. Barbieri ! has asked a group of researchers to present their ideas on a wide-ranging set of notions about change and stability. ! This work offers an impressive array of facts and speculations, extremely stimulating in origin and execution. ! the articles are generally well done with good bibliographies, and they will be useful to many researchers. ! Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and researchers/faculty." (F. W. Yow, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (10), June, 2008)
Editorial: The new frontier of biology; M. Barbieri.- Part 1: Codes and Evolution. 1. Codes of biosequences; E.N. Trifonov.- 2. The mechanisms of evolution: natural selection and natural conventions; M. Barbieri.- Part 2: The Genetic Code. 3. Catalytic propensity of amino acids and the origins of the genetic code and proteins; . Kun et al.- 4. Why the genetic code originated: implications for the origin of protein synthesis; M. Di Giulio.- 5. Self-referential formation of the genetic system; R.C. Guimaraes et al.- 6. The mathematical structure of the genetic code; D. Gonzalez.- 7. The arithmetical origin of the genetic code; V. shCherbak.- Part 3: Protein, Lipid and Sugar Codes. 8. Protein linguistics and the modular code of the cytoskeleton; M. Gimona.- 9. A lipid-based code in nuclear signalling; N.M. Maraldi.- 10. Biological information transfer beyond the genetic code: the sugar code; H.-J. Gabius.- 11. The immune self code: from correspondence to complexity; Y. Neuman.-12. Signal transduction codes and cell fate; M. Faria.- Part 4: Neural, Mental, and Cultural Codes. 13. Towards an understanding of language origins; E. Szathmary.- 14. The codes of language: turtles all the way up?; S.J. Cowley.- 15. Code and context in gene expression, cognition, and consciousness; S. A" Nuallain.- 16. Neural coding in the neuroheuristic perspective; A.E.P. Villa.- 17. Error detection and correction codes; D.L. Gonzalez.- 18. The musical code between nature and nurture: ecosemiotic and neurobiological claims; M. Reybrouck.-
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Marcello Barbieri is Professor of Embryology at the University of Ferrara, Italy, president of the Italian Association for Theoretical Biology, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biosemiotics, and Co-Editor of the Springer book series in Biosemiotics.