What Can Molecular Mechanisms Tell Us About the Distribution of Mutant Phenotypes and Their Evolution?
C. A. Akira Okubo PrizeIntroduced by: Denise Kirschner, Chair of the SMB C. A. Akira Okubo Prize Committee
Tuesday, June 15 at 04:15pm (PDT)Wednesday, June 16 at 12:15am (BST)Wednesday, June 16 08:15am (KST)
Plenary-05 : C. A. Akira Okubo Prize
Distinguished Research Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics and Biomedical Engineering
University of California, Davis, USA
My research in Biochemical Systems Theory in collaboration with colleagues has shown that the architecture of mechanistic models can predict numerous properties within and among biochemical phenotypes without knowledge of the underlying biochemical kinetic parameters. In the past decade, this research led to the development of a novel phenotype-centric modeling strategy with several advantages over the conventional simulation-centric approach. Here I report on work done in collaboration with Miguel Valderrama-Gómez extending the phenotype-centric approach to address one of the most fundamental problems in population genetics and evolution: predicting the distribution of phenotype diversity generated by mutation and available for innovation by selection. I show that minimal knowledge of the molecular system allows prediction of phenotype-specific mutation rate constants and equilibrium distributions of phenotype diversity in populations undergoing steady-state exponential growth. As a proof-of-principle, I provide a case study involving a small molecular system, a primordial circadian clock, and suggest experimental approaches for testing the theory.