Assoc. Prof. Alkan Kabakçıoğlu from the physics department and his student Hamza Çoban have discovered a mathematical upper bound for the robustness of the processes that regulate protein production in cells. Their analysis of the existing experimental data shows that, in fact, genes in many organisms operate at or very close to this boundary (which is given by a fractal function known as the “Blancmange curve”). The finding provides a new perspective to the quest for the mechanisms that keep living systems near the “edge-of-chaos”, the dynamical sweet spot which strikes a balance between stability and responsiveness in the face of environmental changes. Çoban and Kabakçıoğlu’s work is published in Physical Review Letters, the top-ranking journal in physics and mathematics, and has been featured among the Editor’s Suggestions which highlights one out of seven papers that appear in PRL due to their importance, innovation or broad appeal.