Theory of Hierarchically Expanded Gene Regulatory Networks
In this project we focus on developing an inclusive theory of hierarchically expanded genomic regulatory networks. Our empirical focus is primarily on social insects. We aim to integrate additional layers of regulatory control—from microRNA to behavioral interactions—within one generalized regulatory system's perspective and explore the developmental and evolutionary consequences of this expanded regulatory network framework.
This project is based on the idea of the four dimensional regulatory genome as the central part of all mechanistic explanations in developmental evolution and explores how the four dimensional regulatory genome acts as an anchor for all other regulatory processes in development and evolution. The metaphor of the anchor is chosen to indicate that in order to have an effect on phenotypic evolution ultimately all regulatory networks have to be causally linked to the four dimensional regulatory genome.