This section is from the book "Research In Physiopathology As Basis Of Guided Chemotherapy With Special Application To Cancer", by Emanuel Revici. Also available from amazon: Research In Physiopathology
Hierarchic organization, when related to time, would appear to correspond to evolution. The concept of ontogenesis reproducing phylogenesis, appears in a new light when analyzed in accordance with hierarchic organization. The parallelism between actual hierarchic organization and hierarchic phylogenetic and ontogenetic development greatly helps to increase understanding of many principal problems of biology.
In accordance with the concept of hierarchic organization, when a new level is realized through the binding of entities from a lower level, as principal part, to different secondary parts, several outcomes are possible. Some of the new entities are unable to continue to exist and disappear. Of the others, some are relatively well balanced entities and consequently can persist But with further changes in the environment, some of these entities disappear. Even among those that remain, some do not represent fully satisfactory solutions and further hierarchic development is necessary to insure their persistence. They must evolve further to correspond to the new unfavorable external conditions. This has led to the development of the complex entities present today in nature.
Fig. 5. The boundary formation in the hierarchic organization of the biological realm. A proper boundary formation delimits each entity, insuring thus its individuality. It is by separating each time the secondary part from the rest of the environment that the boundary formations have permitted the progressive development of the hierarchic organization. The boundary formation governs the relationship between the entity and its environment.
The multiple entity possibilities at each level have resulted in a wide variety not only of entities which, with further evolution, could produce higher complexes, but also of others which have ended their evolution at lower levels. So the existence of many varied entities appears to be the result of the existence of multiple solutions for the same problems which have been part of the mechanism of hierarchic evolution.
From this viewpoint, existing independent entities can be recognized as corresponding to the different levels of hierarchic organization. Viruses can be considered to be at the same level as genes or even the entities immediately below genes; the microbes at the same level as the nuclei; monocellular organisms at the level of cells, etc. Furthermore, in each independent organism, from simple to most complicated, the same progression in organization of successive hierarchic entities can be seen, starting with the simplest biological entities and continuing until the level at which the entity has actually stopped its hierarchic evolution.
In a further step, having arrived at the concept that the secondary part of each entity corresponds to the kind of environment in which the entity found itself at the time of its phylogenetic appearance, we tried to see what information about these environments could be obtained through study of the secondary parts.
The first biological entities, the alkaline amino acids, could have appeared in an atmosphere rich in ammonia, water and methane. Experimentally, electrical discharges through mixtures of these materials have induced the appearance of amino acids. It appears plausible that such an environment could have existed around volcanoes in times when the earth's atmosphere was formed by ammonia. With steam formed by the heat of the volcano, with methane resulting from the interactions of erupted metallic hydrocarbons with water, and with lightning so frequent around volcanoes in eruption, the necessary conditions for synthesis of amino acids may have been present. The simple amino acid molecules which would have resulted could have constituted a group needed for hierarchic development. Out of a series of such amino acids, some could have bound the group N C-N C which also could have been synthesized under the influence exerted by radioactive elements or radiation. (Note 1)
Additional information concerning the constituents of secondary parts which enter into the development of all the subnuclear entities is meager. Simple amino acids or urea are present in the chromosomial and nuclear sap which are practically free from K and Na. We could thus consider ammonium as the predominant cation for all hierarchic entities up to the nucleus. This would accord with geological data concerning a primitive atmosphere in which ammonia was predominant at the time when the first biological entities would have appeared. We can then, tentatively, in view of this cation common to all, classify the hierarchic entities below the nucleus in what we will call "the nuclear compartment."
In the same way, we analyzed the composition of cytoplasm, with the thought that it could provide information about the constitution of a second environment in the evolution of biological entities. The principal cation of cytoplasm is potassium which also represents the principal cation of the earth's crust. Curiously enough, potassium and the other constituents could be found in the same relative proportions in the earth's crust as in cytoplasm, (Note 2) a fact which seems to confirm the hypothesis that mud, humid earth crust, represented the environment in which entities at nuclear levels lived. The cytoplasm conserved this constitution, with potassium as principal cation, when it was separated from the environment to become the secondary part which, with the nucleus, formed the cell as the next superior hierarchic entity. The cell by itself, represents a new compartment with potassium as principal cation.
It is only for the animal cell that the environment seems to have changed again. This time the new environment was the sea. When several cells joined together to organize tissue as a new entity, they had to maintain their environment, now represented by the sea. The hierarchic entities above the animal cell show sodium as principal cation in their secondary parts, thus indicating that when they were organized the sea was their environment. This characteristic allows us to group together animal hierarchic entities above cells to form a new compartment, the metazoic, with sodium as the principal cation.
With passage from marine to terrestrial life, air is found as the new environment. Not integrated as a new secondary part, without a separating boundary formation, the part of the environment kept in the respiratory apparatus does not enter however, into the formation of a new entity. Only the presence of air in the bones of birds can be seen as such integration.
A certain fundamental further development, in the same direction can be seen in animals as well as in humans, in the area of social life. (Note 3)
Division of complex hierarchic organization into compartments appears to be relatively simple. There are changes in the principal cation from compartment to compartment which correspond to similar fundamental changes in the environment through which the organism passed during its phylogenetic evolution—from volcano to mud, to sea, to the surface of the earth. We tried similarly, to correlate other elements in the periodic chart with hierarchic compartments. The results will be presented in detail later. For the moment, it can be stated that elements correlated to different environments are also found in the different compartments corresponding to these environments. For example, Mg like Na represent an element of the metazoic compartment and of the sea where this compartment was phylogenetically organized. Fe, Cr, Ni, Zn, Ca, Mn, Co, As, and Se which fall into the cellular compartment, represent characteristic constituents of the earth's crust.