Section: Evolutionary Biology
Topic: Evolution, Genetics/Genomics, Population biology

Gene network robustness as a multivariate character

10.24072/pcjournal.125 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article no. e26.

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Robustness to genetic or environmental disturbances is often considered as a key property of living systems. Yet, in spite of being discussed since the 1950s, how robustness emerges from the complexity of genetic architectures and how it evolves still remains unclear. In particular, whether or not robustness is independent to various sources of perturbations conditions the range of adaptive scenarios that can be considered. For instance, selection for robustness to heritable mutations is likely to be modest and indirect, and its evolution might result from indirect selection on a pleiotropically-related character (e.g., homeostasis). Here, I propose to treat various robustness measurements as quantitative characters, and study theoretically, by individual-based simulations, their propensity to evolve independently. Based on a simple evolutionary model of a gene regulatory network, I showed that five measurements of the robustness of gene expression to genetic or non-genetic disturbances were substantially correlated. Yet, robustness was mutationally variable in several dimensions, and robustness components could evolve differentially under direct selection pressure. Therefore, the fact that the sensitivity of gene expression to mutations and environmental factors rely on the same gene networks does not preclude distinct evolutionary histories of robustness components.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.125
Type: Research article

Le Rouzic, Arnaud 1

1 Laboratoire Évolution: Génomes, Comportement, Écologie, Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS, IRD – Gif-sur-Yvette, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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Le Rouzic, Arnaud. Gene network robustness as a multivariate character. Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article  no. e26. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.125.

PCI peer reviews and recommendation, and links to data, scripts, code and supplementary information: 10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100138

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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