Special Issue "Asymmetries in Biological Phenomena"

A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994). This special issue belongs to the section "Biology and Symmetry/Asymmetry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Hervé Seligmann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
The National Natural History Collections, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
Interests: developmental stability; tRNA; origins of life; genetic code; translation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Symmetries in natural phenomena, and causes for departures from symmetry, relate to the deepest properties embedded in natural phenomena. Biological structures and processes are no exception. Our understanding of biological asymmetries, whether random (fluctuating) or systematic (directional) is scarce. This is true at the levels of morphological bilateral (a)symmetries, biomolecular chirality, behavioural laterality, genetic code structure, DNA structure, and directionality in biomolecular processes such as replication, transcription and translation.

This special issue invites reviews, new insights and research on these topics at any level of biological phenomena, including analyses that unite asymmetries across observational scales and topics.

Dr. Hervé Seligmann
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Symmetry is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Developmental asymmetry
  • Directional asymmetry
  • Fluctuating asymmetry
  • Chirality in biomolecules
  • Replicational, transcriptional, translational asymmetries
  • Dimorphisms (for example sexual) as directional asymmetry
  • Behaviour-related laterality

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Asymmetric Behavior in Ptyodactylus guttatus: Can a Digit Ratio Reflect Brain Laterality?
Symmetry 2020, 12(9), 1490; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym12091490 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1442
Abstract
The digit ratio, an indicator of brain laterality, is the ratio of the second and fourth digits on the left (L24) or right foot (R24). Much of the research on the digit ratio and brain laterality focuses on primates, rather than other species [...] Read more.
The digit ratio, an indicator of brain laterality, is the ratio of the second and fourth digits on the left (L24) or right foot (R24). Much of the research on the digit ratio and brain laterality focuses on primates, rather than other species such as reptiles. We tested whether the digit ratio in the gecko Ptyodactylus guttatus was associated with behaviors attributed to brain laterality. We examined risk-taking behavior (time spent under cover), foot preference (which foot was the first to start moving) and the side from which geckos bypassed an obstacle, in relation to the digit ratio. Geckos with longer fourth digits on their left hind foot (higher digit ratio) spent more time under cover. Geckos starting to move with their left leg were much more likely to bypass obstacles from the right side, and vice versa. This is the first evidence of laterality being associated with the digit ratio in reptiles. Comparisons among vertebrates are needed in order to decipher the evolutionary origin of the commonalities and peculiarities of brain asymmetry and disentangle the patterns and drivers of our evolutionary tree. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Asymmetries in Biological Phenomena)
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Article
Contextual Modulation in Mammalian Neocortex is Asymmetric
Symmetry 2020, 12(5), 815; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym12050815 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1051
Abstract
Neural systems are composed of many local processors that generate an output given their many inputs as specified by a transfer function. This paper studies a transfer function that is fundamentally asymmetric and builds on multi-site intracellular recordings indicating that some neocortical pyramidal [...] Read more.
Neural systems are composed of many local processors that generate an output given their many inputs as specified by a transfer function. This paper studies a transfer function that is fundamentally asymmetric and builds on multi-site intracellular recordings indicating that some neocortical pyramidal cells can function as context-sensitive two-point processors in which some inputs modulate the strength with which they transmit information about other inputs. Learning and processing at the level of the local processor can then be guided by the context of activity in the system as a whole without corrupting the message that the local processor transmits. We use a recent advance in the foundations of information theory to compare the properties of this modulatory transfer function with that of the simple arithmetic operators. This advance enables the information transmitted by processors with two distinct inputs to be decomposed into those components unique to each input, that shared between the two inputs, and that which depends on both though it is in neither, i.e., synergy. We show that contextual modulation is fundamentally asymmetric, contrasts with all four simple arithmetic operators, can take various forms, and can occur together with the anatomical asymmetry that defines pyramidal neurons in mammalian neocortex. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Asymmetries in Biological Phenomena)
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