Biology Magazine

Genotype-phenotype Maps and Mathy Biology

Posted on the 28 September 2012 by Bjornostman @CarnyEvolution
ResearchBlogging.orgI'm reading a book chapter by Peter Stadler from 2002 called Landscapes and Effective Fitness [1]. It has this absolutely gorgeous figure:
Genotype-phenotype maps and mathy biology
 I love it. But just before this figure he has this equation:
Genotype-phenotype maps and mathy biology I hate it. I hate it because all it says is that each type, x, is at a frequency P of the total population, so those Px sum to one. But of course. I just don't think this kind of writing is conducive to discourse, because in biology there is already a huge gap between the majority who don't read (and cite) papers with equations, and those who write them. So why muddy the waters with equations like this that says next to nothing?
However, I reiterate (and is why I'm reading the chapter) that this figure of a genotype-phenotype-fitness map is super cool.There are many more different genotypes (the genetic make-up of an organism) than there are different phenotypes (the combined physical attributes of the organism). This must be so, because we now know that each trait is affected by many genes; it takes more than one gene to make a trait (there may be exceptions where only one gene encodes a trait).
The figure is a conceptual map, but real g-p mapping is sort of the holy grail in evolutionary biology at the moment. With a real map like in hand evolutionary dynamics can be predicted, and we will be able to say which genetic changes are required to change the phenotype. However, realistically we can only map a very small portion of the genotype on to the phenotype, and there even seems to be some confusion about what the proper answer is to the question of what the genotype-phenotype map looks like. Hopefully the answer won't be too mathy...
[1] Peter F. Stadler and Christopher R. Stephens (2003). Landscapes and Effective Fitness Comm. Theor. Biol, submitted to, 2003. Santa Fe Insitute Working Paper: 0210048. DOI: 10.1080/08948550302439
[20] A testable genotype-phenotype map: Modeling evolution of RNA molecules. In: Lässig, M. and Valleriani, A., editors, Biological Evolution and Statistical Physics, pp. 56–83. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2002.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Lamar Odom – I Don’t Care

    Lamar Odom Don’t Care

    Perhaps you’ve heard that former NBA player and current Kardashian victim, Lamar Odom has fallen ill most unexpectedly. What kind of world do we live in where... Read more

    The 23 October 2015 by   Christopher De Voss
  • Unrest in Jerusalem: a Month of Terror Attacks Takes Its Toll

    Unrest Jerusalem: Month Terror Attacks Takes Toll

    Pixabay photoJerusalem and Israel proper is the location where our Holy God has put His name (2 Chronicles 6:6) and set up His people. (Zechariah 2:12).As a... Read more

    The 23 October 2015 by   Elizabethprata
  • Fennel, Onion, Apple, Cheddar, Ham and Sage Quiche

    Fennel, Onion, Apple, Cheddar, Sage Quiche

    “Are you making another pie?”  The Farmer was letting his curiosity show with perhaps a little cautious optimism.  After yesterday’s spectacular pumpkin pie,... Read more

    The 22 October 2015 by   Mimiavocado
  • The Millennium Way: An Interview with Alison Bagby

    Millennium Way: Interview with Alison Bagby

    This post is only tangentially related to rock climbing. It has more to do with bragging about how awesome we must be, because the people discussed below... Read more

    The 22 October 2015 by   Thervproject
  • The Pancake Kitchen, Seaham

    Pancake Kitchen, Seaham

    I love pancakes. With or without bacon and maple syrup. With fruit on and lashings of Nutella. Even just pancakes on their own with lemon and a sprinkle of... Read more

    The 22 October 2015 by   Hellofreckles
  • Video: Darklight

    Video: Darklight

    We love night riding, but we’ve never dreamed of doing anything like this before! That said, our budget definitely wouldn’t stretch this far. Read more

    The 22 October 2015 by   Grindinggears

Add a comment