In recent decades, a profound conceptual transformation has occurred comprising different areas of biological research, leading to a novel understanding of life processes as much more dynamic and changeable. Discoveries in plants and animals, as well as novel experimental approaches, have prompted the research community to reconsider established concepts and paradigms. This development was taken as an incentive to organise a workshop in May 2014 at the Academia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome. There, experts on epigenetics, regeneration, neuroplasticity, and computational biology, using different animal and plant models, presented their insights on important aspects of a dynamic architecture of life, which comprises all organisational levels of the organism. Their work demonstrates that a dynamic nature of life persists during the entire existence of the organism and permits animals and plants not only to fine-tune their response to particular environmental demands during development, but underlies their continuous capacity to do so. Here, a synthesis of the different findings and their relevance for biological thinking is presented.
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