Journal Article


Mario Fares



gene duplication humans molecular chaperones biological systems models genetic survival chemistry genetics animals metabolism chaperonin 60 evolution molecular hsp90 heat shock proteins innovation mutation evolution this review genetic variation genetic fitness

Survival and innovation: The role of mutational robustness in evolution (2014)

Abstract Biological systems are resistant to perturbations caused by the environment and by the intrinsic noise of the system. Robustness to mutations is a particular aspect of robustness in which the phenotype is resistant to genotypic variation. Mutational robustness has been linked to the ability of the system to generate heritable genetic variation (a property known as evolvability). It is known that greater robustness leads to increased evolvability. Therefore, mechanisms that increase mutational robustness fuel evolvability. Two such mechanisms, molecular chaperones and gene duplication, have been credited with enormous importance in generating functional diversity through the increase of system's robustness to mutational insults. However, the way in which such mechanisms regulate robustness remains largely uncharacterized. In this review, I provide evidence in support of the role of molecular chaperones and gene duplication in innovation. Specifically, I present evidence that these mechanisms regulate robustness allowing unstable systems to survive long periods of time, and thus they provide opportunity for other mutations to compensate the destabilizing effects of functionally innovative mutations. The findings reported in this study set new questions with regards to the synergy between robustness mechanisms and how this synergy can alter the adaptive landscape of proteins. The ideas proposed in this article set the ground for future research in the understanding of the role of robustness in evolution.
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Mario Fares

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Mario Ali Fares
Trinity College Dublin
Total Publications: 43