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Genes 2011, 2(4), 998-1016; doi:10.3390/genes2040998

Antifragility and Tinkering in Biology (and in Business) Flexibility Provides an Efficient Epigenetic Way to Manage Risk

1,* , 2
1 AMAbiotics SAS, CEA/Genoscope, 2 rue Gaston Crémieux, 91057 Evry Cedex, France 2 Natural Sciences Division, University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI 96720-4091, USA 3 Fondation Fourmentin-Guilbert, 2 avenue du Pavé Neuf, 93160 Noisy-le-Grand, France
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 September 2011 / Revised: 25 October 2011 / Accepted: 16 November 2011 / Published: 29 November 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution and Structure of Proteins and Proteomes)
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The notion of antifragility, an attribute of systems that makes them thrive under variable conditions, has recently been proposed by Nassim Taleb in a business context. This idea requires the ability of such systems to ‘tinker’, i.e., to creatively respond to changes in their environment. A fairly obvious example of this is natural selection-driven evolution. In this ubiquitous process, an original entity, challenged by an ever-changing environment, creates variants that evolve into novel entities. Analyzing functions that are essential during stationary-state life yield examples of entities that may be antifragile. One such example is proteins with flexible regions that can undergo functional alteration of their side residues or backbone and thus implement the tinkering that leads to antifragility. This in-built property of the cell chassis must be taken into account when considering construction of cell factories driven by engineering principles.
Keywords: fragility; ageing; information; disorder; isoaspartate fragility; ageing; information; disorder; isoaspartate
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Danchin, A.; Binder, P.M.; Noria, S. Antifragility and Tinkering in Biology (and in Business) Flexibility Provides an Efficient Epigenetic Way to Manage Risk. Genes 2011, 2, 998-1016.

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