When we started writing this paper we were inspired by the debate about the question of how much of the human genome is functional. Estimates for that proportion range from 5% to 90%, a huge difference that obviously cannot be reconciled by more data. We think that this difference rather reflects diversity in the conception of what function is. We start by discussing examples of biological functions that are not covered by any of the common definitions of function and end by arguing that any biological meaningful interpretations of function depend on the specific theoretical and measurement context.
Manfred D. Laubichler · Peter F. Stadler · Sonja J. Prohaska · Katja Nowick