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Sci. STKE, 2 March 2004
Vol. 2004, Issue 222, p. pe9
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.2222004pe9]


From Play to Laws: Language in Biology

B. Robert Franza*

Cell Systems Initiative and Bioengineering Department, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

Abstract: One perspective on the emergence of the child prodigy is derived from comparing the role of unique forms of abstraction in those disciplines in which the child has been wondrously creative. Music, mathematics, poetry, and computer programming have all witnessed the child as a creative force; biology has not. Perhaps it is the lack of a suitable abstraction, symbols, and rules for their use that hampers both the child prodigy and the expert in their pursuit of understanding living cells. Repurposing existing languages has yet to accelerate that understanding; perhaps it is time to nudge the evolution of language to better serve the description and prediction of the behavior of living systems.

*Contact information. Telephone, 206-616-5088; fax, 206-616-5118; e-mail, bfranza{at}

Citation: B. R. Franza, From Play to Laws: Language in Biology. Sci. STKE 2004, pe9 (2004).

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