Networks of phenotypic variation

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Science  02 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6414, pp. 555-556
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6414.555-b

Evolution depends on phenotypic variation. Gene regulatory networks are theoretically expected to be likely sources of variation. Schaerli et al. explored how the structure of gene regulatory circuits contributes to the range of mutant phenotypes that are produced. Synthetic networks in the bacteria Escherichia coli were built to test this idea experimentally. In colonies responding to a gradient of a stimulatory chemical, the networks produced a striped pattern of cells. Ultimately, the structure of the networks was critical in specifying the phenotypes that could be obtained by mutation.

Mol. Syst. Biol. 14, e8102 (2018).

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