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Nature. 2008 Apr 17;452(7189):840-5. doi: 10.1038/nature06847.

Evolvability and hierarchy in rewired bacterial gene networks.

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1
EMBL/CRG Systems Biology Research Unit, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), UPF, 08003 Barcelona, Spain. isalan@crg.es

Abstract

Sequencing DNA from several organisms has revealed that duplication and drift of existing genes have primarily moulded the contents of a given genome. Though the effect of knocking out or overexpressing a particular gene has been studied in many organisms, no study has systematically explored the effect of adding new links in a biological network. To explore network evolvability, we constructed 598 recombinations of promoters (including regulatory regions) with different transcription or sigma-factor genes in Escherichia coli, added over a wild-type genetic background. Here we show that approximately 95% of new networks are tolerated by the bacteria, that very few alter growth, and that expression level correlates with factor position in the wild-type network hierarchy. Most importantly, we find that certain networks consistently survive over the wild type under various selection pressures. Therefore new links in the network are rarely a barrier for evolution and can even confer a fitness advantage.

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PMID:
18421347
PMCID:
PMC2666274
DOI:
10.1038/nature06847
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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