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COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

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Contact: Caitlin Lorraine McShea, Program Manager,

Hallmarks of Biological Failure/Complexity, Breaking Bad Tradeoffs, and the Evolution of Biological Failure

From Complex Time

April 8, 2019
10:30 am - 11:00 am


Bernie Crespi (Simon Fraser Univ.)


I will discuss two points.  First, how are genomic and organismal complexity related to slow, and fast, failure?  Do biological systems fail more under conditions of high

complexity and tight coupling, as posited for inanimate systems? Do increases in genomic and organismal complexity result in short-term benefits, but more longer-term evolutionary vulnerabilities?  Second, how do tradeoffs mediate failure? Most tradeoffs are 'bad' in that system-wide organismal lifetime optimization is not achieved, even if they are relatively 'good' for propagating genes.  Can such bad tradeoffs be broken, artificially, by humans? 

I think so, in some cases.  I discuss examples, from mental disorders, life histories, and senescence.

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