Monday, May 4, 2009

Implications of Network Motifs on Evolution

There are claims that "modularity" may be advantageous to evolution. An analogy for supporting this hypothesis are logic gates in digital electronics. Rate of evolution of digital electronics has increased due to the fact that logic gates can be reused in different ways to form complex circuits.

Taking the analogy to biology...

Task at hand: need to identify the equivalent of logic gates in biology.
Once the above task is complete, redraw biological networks using the "modules".

I anticipate the following features would characterize biological modules:
(1) They are common in biological networks but hard to find because they will be intertwined with each other, i.e. may or may not be as obvious as looking for high frequency sub-graphs
(2) Individual modules will have a defined behavior...but this "defined behavior" may be difficult to identify.
(3) They will be highly flexible in the types of functions they can produce when connected with each other.
(4) Different physical networks, i.e. genetic networks, signaling networks, metabolic networks, RNA networks, will probably have different modules.

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