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Nat Rev Genet. 2015 Aug;16(8):483-96. doi: 10.1038/nrg3949.

Pervasive robustness in biological systems.

Author information

1
Institute of Biology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, CNRS UMR8197, INSERM U124, ENS, 46 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris, France.
2
Imperial College London, Department of Life Sciences, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

Abstract

Robustness is characterized by the invariant expression of a phenotype in the face of a genetic and/or environmental perturbation. Although phenotypic variance is a central measure in the mapping of the genotype and environment to the phenotype in quantitative evolutionary genetics, robustness is also a key feature in systems biology, resulting from nonlinearities in quantitative relationships between upstream and downstream components. In this Review, we provide a synthesis of these two lines of investigation, converging on understanding how variation propagates across biological systems. We critically assess the recent proliferation of studies identifying robustness-conferring genes in the context of the nonlinearity in biological systems.

PMID:
26184598
DOI:
10.1038/nrg3949
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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