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BioMed Central Page 1 of 8
 

Summary: BioMed Central
Page 1 of 8
(page number not for citation purposes)
BMC Evolutionary Biology
Open AccessResearch article
Environmental variability and modularity of bacterial metabolic
networks
Merav Parter, Nadav Kashtan and Uri Alon*
Address: Molecular Cell Biology Department, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
Email: Merav Parter - merav.parter@weizmann.ac.il; Nadav Kashtan - nadav.kashtan@weizmann.ac.il; Uri Alon* - uri.alon@weizmann.ac.il
* Corresponding author
Abstract
Background: Biological systems are often modular: they can be decomposed into nearly-
independent structural units that perform specific functions. The evolutionary origin of modularity
is a subject of much current interest. Recent theory suggests that modularity can be enhanced when
the environment changes over time. However, this theory has not yet been tested using biological
data.
Results: To address this, we studied the relation between environmental variability and modularity
in a natural and well-studied system, the metabolic networks of bacteria. We classified 117 bacterial
species according to the degree of variability in their natural habitat. We find that metabolic

  

Source: Alon, Uri - Departments of Molecular Cell Biology & Physics of Complex Systems, Weizmann Institute of Science

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine