Robustness and Evolvability in Living Systems
How much do I want to read more? 7/10
1 - Introduction
influences over several billion years.
aconstant barrage of internal mutations.
Not only has life survived, it has thrived and radiated into millions of diverse species.Such resilience may be surprising, because complexity suggests fragility.
A biological system is robust if it continues to function in the face of perturbations.
this book has a restricted scope: It focuses on robustness to genetic change. I will call this kind of robustness genetic robustness or mutational robustness.
genetic change has more serious consequences. A genetic change is a permanent alteration in the “wiring” of a biological system.
mostly genetic change is heritable, and thus hasm uch moreserious long-term consequences on organismal lineage.
non genetic change would be daunting.
Why Study Robustness?
Why can unimaginably complex systems with stand so much change?
Proteins can tolerate thousands of amino acid changes, metabolic networks continue to sustain life even after removal of important chemical reactions, gene regulation networks continue to function after alteration of key gene interactions,and radical transformations in embryonic development can lead to an essentially unchanged adult organism.
Genetic variation is abundant in most species, yet how it translates into phenotypic variation is still unknown.
Can human engineers learn from robustness in the living?