Evolvability is the degree to which a biological system can evolve into a diversity of adaptive solutions to future environments. Two organisms with the same phenotype and fitness in a current environment may differ in their evolvability, owing to differences in the cryptic evolutionary potential of their genomes.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Basic anatomical patterns are conserved in chordates. Here, the authors show mid-embryonic conservation during vertebrates’ development and evolutionary constraints introduced by recruitment of mid-embryonic programmes to later stages of development.

    • Haiyang Hu
    • , Masahiro Uesaka
    • , Song Guo
    • , Kotaro Shimai
    • , Tsai-Ming Lu
    • , Fang Li
    • , Satoko Fujimoto
    • , Masato Ishikawa
    • , Shiping Liu
    • , Yohei Sasagawa
    • , Guojie Zhang
    • , Shigeru Kuratani
    • , Jr-Kai Yu
    • , Takehiro G. Kusakabe
    • , Philipp Khaitovich
    •  & Naoki Irie
  • Research | | open

    Eukaryotic cells rely on the ubiquitin-proteasome system for selective degradation of proteins, a process vital to organismal fitness. Here the authors show that the number of repeats in the polyubiquitin gene is evolutionarily unstable within and between yeast species, and that this variability may tune the cell’s capacity to respond to sudden environmental perturbations.

    • Rita Gemayel
    • , Yudi Yang
    • , Maria C. Dzialo
    • , Jacek Kominek
    • , Jakob Vowinckel
    • , Veerle Saels
    • , Leen Van Huffel
    • , Elisa van der Zande
    • , Markus Ralser
    • , Jan Steensels
    • , Karin Voordeckers
    •  & Kevin J. Verstrepen
  • Research |

    Introducing a single ‘sticky’ (hydrophobic) amino acid by point mutation into symmetric protein complexes frequently triggers their association into higher-order assemblies, without affecting their native fold and structure.

    • Hector Garcia-Seisdedos
    • , Charly Empereur-Mot
    • , Nadav Elad
    •  & Emmanuel D. Levy
    Nature 548, 244–247
  • Research | | open

    Limited specificity of transcription factor-DNA interactions leads to crosstalk in gene regulation. Here the authors consider global crosstalk in regulatory networks of growing size and complexity, and show that it imposes constraints on gene regulation and on the evolution of regulatory networks.

    • Tamar Friedlander
    • , Roshan Prizak
    • , Călin C. Guet
    • , Nicholas H. Barton
    •  & Gašper Tkačik
  • Reviews |

    Robustness of a phenotypic trait is characterized as lack of, or low, variance in that phenotype under a particular genetic or environmental perturbation. The authors review recent studies characterizing robustness, provide guidance in reporting robust features and insights into how variation propagates across biological systems.

    • Marie-Anne Félix
    •  & Michalis Barkoulas