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date: 18 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Effective reception, delivery, and processing of information is fundamental to all life forms. Physical and chemical signals are perceived from both outside and inside an organism. The nature, duration, and intensity of signals are processed into information, mainly encoded as concentration differences of ions and molecules that ultimately lead to a reaction of the organism. Although the advent of the first and most primitive signalling system will remain unknown, it probably existed already in the first hours of life. Disturbances of well-orchestrated signalling systems are often the basis of diseases. Understanding the complexity of signalling networks is required for rational intervention in different disease stages. Understanding the evolutionary history of signalling systems can help us unveil the requirements for proper functioning of a given signalling network. This chapter provides an overview of how cellular communication evolved, works, and contributes to our understanding of human diseases in the light of evolution.

Keywords: information, signalling, disease, signalling network, evolutionary history, cellular communication, evolutionary medicine

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