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Metasystem Transitions in Biology

"The metasystem transition creates a higher level of organization, the metalevel in relation to the level of organization of the subsystems being integrated"(Turchin According to Turchin (1976), a metasystem transition requires the following 2 steps:
  1. Duplication of the original system, and
  2. Establishment of control over multiple copies.

In this figure, the initial element duplicates, then differentiation follows. Differentiation is a typical (but not necessary) result of control of elements by the entire system. However, control always changes system components in order to increase the performance of the entire system. This mechanism can be illustrated by a whole range of examples from biology.

An alternative mechanism of metasystem transition is symbiosis, the integration of initially independent, dissimilar components. Whereas the former type may be called "homogeneous", this latter type can be called "heterogeneous".

The success of either type of metasystem transition depends on the evolutionary stability of cooperation between the components.

See also:

Copyright© 2000 Principia Cybernetica - Referencing this page

Alexei Sharov

May 17, 2000 (modified)
Nov 19, 1998 (created)


Metasystem Transition Theory

The Metasystem Transition / Biological Evolution

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Biological examples of MSTs

Symbiosis as a Metasystem Transition

Evolutionary stability of cooperation


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