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Trends Ecol Evol. 2009 Feb;24(2):63-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.10.004. Epub 2008 Dec 25.

Systems biology spins off a new model for the study of canalization.

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  • Département de Biochimie , Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7, Canada. clandry@post.harvard.edu


The tools of systems biology make possible the study of phenotypic robustness at the molecular level. A recent investigation by Ansel et al. shows that alleles with different capabilities to buffer noise in gene expression - variation in protein abundance among genetically identical cells - segregate in populations of budding yeasts. These findings show that there is raw material for robust gene expression to evolve by natural selection, enabling the study of canalization of gene networks as it evolves in nature.

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