The Balance of Weak and Strong Interactions in Genetic NetworksReport as inadecuate

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Genetic interactions are being quantitatively characterized in a comprehensive way in several model organisms. These data are then globally represented in terms of genetic networks. How are interaction strengths distributed in these networks? And what type of functional organization of the underlying genomic systems is revealed by such distribution patterns? Here, I found that weak interactions are important for the structure of genetic buffering between signaling pathways in Caenorhabditis elegans, and that the strength of the association between two genes correlates with the number of common interactors they exhibit. I also determined that this network includes genetic cascades balancing weak and strong links, and that its hubs act as particularly strong genetic modifiers; both patterns also identified in Saccharomyces cerevisae networks. In yeast, I further showed a relation, although weak, between interaction strengths and some phenotypic-evolutionary features of the corresponding target genes. Overall, this work demonstrates a non-random organization of interaction strengths in genetic networks, a feature common to other complex networks, and that could reflect in this context how genetic variation is eventually influencing the phenotype.

Author: Juan F. Poyatos



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