Günter P. Wagner

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Canalization is the suppression of phenotypic variation. Depending on the causes of phenotypic variation, one speaks either of genetic or environmental canalization. Genetic canalization describes insensitivity of a character to mutations, and the insensitivity to environmental factors is called environmental canalization. Genetic canalization is of(More)
Measures of RNA abundance are important for many areas of biology and often obtained from high-throughput RNA sequencing methods such as Illumina sequence data. These measures need to be normalized to remove technical biases inherent in the sequencing approach, most notably the length of the RNA species and the sequencing depth of a sample. These biases are(More)
A network of interactions is called modular if it is subdivided into relatively autonomous, internally highly connected components. Modularity has emerged as a rallying point for research in developmental and evolutionary biology (and specifically evo-devo), as well as in molecular systems biology. Here we review the evidence for modularity and models about(More)
Robustness is the invariance of phenotypes in the face of perturbation. The robustness of phenotypes appears at various levels of biological organization, including gene expression, protein folding, metabolic flux, physiological homeostasis, development, and even organismal fitness. The mechanisms underlying robustness are diverse, ranging from(More)
The problem of complex adaptations is studied in two largely disconnected research traditions: evolutionary biology and evolutionary computer science. This paper summarizes the results from both areas and compares their implications. In evolutionary computer science it was found that the Darwinian process of mutation, recombination and selection is not(More)
The current implementation of the Neo-Darwinian model of evolution typically assumes that the set of possible phenotypes is organized into a highly symmetric and regular space equipped with a notion of distance, for example, a Euclidean vector space. Recent computational work on a biophysical genotype-phenotype model based on the folding of RNA sequences(More)
One of the most solid generalizations of transmission genetics is that the phenotypic variance of populations carrying a major mutation is increased relative to the wild type. At least some part of this higher variance is genetic and due to release of previously hidden variation. Similarly, stressful environments also lead to the expression of hidden(More)
Homology is an essential idea of biology, referring to the historical continuity of characters, but it is also conceptually highly elusive. The main difficulty is the apparently loose relationship between morphological characters and their genetic basis. Here I propose that it is the historical continuity of gene regulatory networks rather than the(More)
Two structures are called homologous if they represent corresponding parts of organisms which are built according to the same body plan (23, 33). The existence of corresponding structures in different species is explained by derivation from a common ancestor that had the same structure as the two species compared (25, 35). The eye of a cow is homologous to(More)