Countering Kauffman with Connectionism: Two Views of Gene Regulation and the Fundamental Nature of Ontogeny Academic Article uri icon


  • Understanding the operation and evolution of gene regulation networks is critical to understanding ontogeny and evolution. According to Stuart Kauffman's view, (1) each cell type cycles through its own repeated pattern of gene expression, (2) the order of ontogeny is dependent on these cycles being short, and (3) evolution is possible because these cycles mutate gradually. This view of gene regulation reflects Kauffman's view that ontogeny is fundamentally the process of cells repeating cycles of activity. I criticize Kauffman's view of gene regulation networks and offer the connectionist theory of gene regulation as an alternative. On this view, the generic order of gene regulation mechanisms is due to the qualitatively consistent way that one gene product influences the expression of another. This allows networks to be stable and evolve to regulate accurately, allowing cells to react appropriately to their microenvironments, due to design by natural selection. IntroductionKauffman's Model of Gene RegulationExplaining the Order of Kauffman's K = 2 NetworksThe Importance and Relevance of Kauffman's Explanations of the Order of Gene RegulationAdditional Orderly Facts of TranscriptionThe Order of Network AccuracyThe Accuracy of Connectionist NetworksThe Evolvability of Gene Regulation NetworksLaws of Structure.

author list (cited authors)

  • Sansom, R.

publication date

  • January 1, 2008 11:11 AM