Evolutionary Systems Biology Workshop

Manfred Laubichler gave a talk "The Regulatory Genome in Development and Evolution" at the Evolutionary Systems Biology workshop at the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Altenberg, September 5 - 8, 2013.

ESB is an emerging field of evolutionary investigation. It combines systems biology, which is focused on dynamic cellular processes, with evolutionary analyses of populations and organisms. There are several motivations for synthesizing evolutionary and systems-biological perspectives. One is that network properties need to be understood in a variety of organisms, and network models can effectively be generalized through evolutionary analyses. Another is to explain network-level properties such as robustness. A third is to gain a mechanistic understanding of mutational effects, and a fourth is to extend systems-biology – currently focused on intracellular networks – to intercellular networks that have emerged in coevolutionary relationships.

To gain insight into these issues, researchers in evolutionary systems biology draw on and combine diverse approaches, including the construction of mechanistic models and in silico evolutionary simulations, the application of comparative analysis of omic data to predict the evolution of network structure, and the use of synthetic constructs to analyse potential evolutionary trajectories in specific systems. The field is highly integrative and interdisciplinary. In addition to evolutionary biology, molecular and systems biology, ESB draws on engineering and computer science, and sometimes ecosystem science.