Evolution of Molecular Networks

Coordinators: Eric Davidson, Michael Lassig, Tomoko Ohta, Nikolaus Rajewsky, Stephen Small

Monday, January 15, 2007, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This is an official holiday at UCSB, so KITP will be closed, and no regular staff will be present.

This workshop will bring together theorists and experimentalists to discuss the forefront of research on the evolution of networks in molecular biology. The genome is not just a collection of genes but a highly interactive system. Functional tasks often require the cooperative action of several genes, and conversely, a single gene may participate in different functional contexts. Interactions between genes are encoded in regulatory networks, which are in turn linked to networks of signal transduction, protein interaction, and metabolism. Comparative genomics provides new data on the dynamics of genetic networks, opening a promising research direction towards a quantitative understanding of molecular evolution. At the same time, this is an area in need of new theoretical concepts linking structure and dynamics of these networks. Cross-disciplinary interaction between biologists and physicists will be fostered by introductory tutorials.

Part I: Bacterial and viral evolution
Primordial evolution and RNA world, viral evolution and host-pathogen interactions, bacterial evolution.

Part II: Evolution of regulation
Regulation in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, comparative genomics, post-transcriptional networks and small RNAs.

Part III; Network evolution and adaptations
Proteome evolution, ecological adaptations and speciation, primate evolution.

Topical week: Dynamics of Genome Growth (dates to be determined.)
Other miniworkshops on timely topics will be added to the program and announced later.