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Trends Genet. 2018 Aug;34(8):578-586. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2018.05.006. Epub 2018 Jun 11.

Genetic Network Complexity Shapes Background-Dependent Phenotypic Expression.

Author information

1
Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, 160 College Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3E1, Canada. Electronic address: jing.hou@utoronto.ca.
2
Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, 160 College Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3E1, Canada.
3
Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, 160 College Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3E1, Canada. Electronic address: brenda.andrews@utoronto.ca.
4
Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, 160 College Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3E1, Canada. Electronic address: charlie.boone@utoronto.ca.

Abstract

The phenotypic consequences of a given mutation can vary across individuals. This so-called background effect is widely observed, from mutant fitness of loss-of-function variants in model organisms to variable disease penetrance and expressivity in humans; however, the underlying genetic basis often remains unclear. Taking insights gained from recent large-scale surveys of genetic interaction and suppression analyses in yeast, we propose that the genetic network context for a given mutation may shape its propensity of exhibiting background-dependent phenotypes. We argue that further efforts in systematically mapping the genetic interaction networks beyond yeast will provide not only key insights into the functional properties of genes, but also a better understanding of the background effects and the (un)predictability of traits in a broader context.

KEYWORDS:

background effect; conditional gene essentiality; genetic interaction; variable phenotypic expression

PMID:
29903533
PMCID:
PMC6085889
DOI:
10.1016/j.tig.2018.05.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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