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Biosystems. 2010 Oct;102(1):32-40. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2010.07.009. Epub 2010 Jul 23.

Scaling laws in bacterial genomes: a side-effect of selection of mutational robustness?

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Université de Lyon, CNRS, INSA-Lyon, LIRIS, UMR5205, F-69621, France.


In the past few years, numerous research projects have focused on identifying and understanding scaling properties in the gene content of prokaryote genomes and the intricacy of their regulation networks. Yet, and despite the increasing amount of data available, the origins of these scalings remain an open question. The RAevol model, a digital genetics model, provides us with an insight into the mechanisms involved in an evolutionary process. The results we present here show that (i) our model reproduces qualitatively these scaling laws and that (ii) these laws are not due to differences in lifestyles but to differences in the spontaneous rates of mutations and rearrangements. We argue that this is due to an indirect selective pressure for robustness that constrains the genome size.

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