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Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. 2011 Sep-Oct;3(5):544-61. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.136. Epub 2010 Dec 31.

Adaptation of cells to new environments.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


The evolutionary success of an organism is a testament to its inherent capacity to keep pace with environmental conditions that change over short and long periods. Mechanisms underlying adaptive processes are being investigated with renewed interest and excitement. This revival is partly fueled by powerful technologies that can probe molecular phenomena at a systems scale. Such studies provide spectacular insight into the mechanisms of adaptation, including rewiring of regulatory networks via natural selection of horizontal gene transfers, gene duplication, deletion, readjustment of kinetic parameters, and myriad other genetic reorganizational events. Here, we discuss advances in prokaryotic systems biology from the perspective of evolutionary principles that have shaped regulatory networks for dynamic adaptation to environmental change.

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