+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Robustness, evolvability, and neutrality



Robustness, evolvability, and neutrality



Febs Letters 579(8): 1772-1778



Biological systems, from macromolecules to whole organisms, are robust if they continue to function, survive, or reproduce when faced with mutations, environmental change, and internal noise. I focus here on biological systems that are robust to mutations and ask whether such systems are more or less evolvable, in the sense that they can acquire novel properties. The more robust a system is, the more mutations in it are neutral, that is, without phenotypic effect. I argue here that such neutral change--and thus robustness--can be a key to future evolutionary innovation, if one accepts that neutrality is not an essential feature of a mutation. That is, a once neutral mutation may cause phenotypic effects in a changed environment or genetic background. I argue that most, if not all, neutral mutations are of this sort, and that the essentialist notion of neutrality should be abandoned. This perspective reconciles two opposing views on the forces dominating organismal evolution, natural selection and random drift: neutral mutations occur and are especially abundant in robust systems, but they do not remain neutral indefinitely, and eventually become visible to natural selection, where some of them lead to evolutionary innovations.

Please choose payment method:






(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 012522850

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15763550

DOI: 10.1016/j.febslet.2005.01.063


Related references

Spoken language achieves robustness and evolvability by exploiting degeneracy and neutrality. Bioessays 36(10): 960-967, 2014

Neutrality and evolvability of designed protein sequences. Physical Review. E Statistical Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics 82(1 Pt 1): 011906, 2010

Robustness and evolvability. Trends in Genetics 26(9): 406-414, 2010

Balancing robustness and evolvability. Plos Biology 4(12): E428, 2006

The origins of cancer robustness and evolvability. Integrative Biology 3(1): 17-30, 2011

Evolvability and robustness: A paradox restored. Journal of Theoretical Biology 430: 78-85, 2017

On evolvability and robustness in the matrix-GRT model. Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines 15(3): 343-374, 2014

Robustness and Evolvability in Living Systems. Nature Genetics 38(2): 3, 2006

Evolvability and robustness in populations of RNA virus Φ6. Frontiers in Microbiology 5: 35, 2014

Robustness and evolvability: a paradox resolved. Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences Series B 275(1630): 91-100, 2008

Robustness promotes evolvability of thermotolerance in an RNA virus. Bmc Evolutionary Biology 8: 231, 2008

Sloppiness, robustness, and evolvability in systems biology. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 19(4): 389-395, 2008

Protein structural modularity and robustness are associated with evolvability. Genome Biology and Evolution 3: 456-475, 2011

Robustness and evolvability of heterogeneous cell populations. Molecular Biology of the Cell 29(11): 1400-1409, 2018

Robustness, evolvability, and the logic of genetic regulation. Artificial Life 20(1): 111-126, 2014