On the networked architecture of genotype spaces and its critical effects on molecular evolution Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2018

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 18


  • 8

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2046-2441


  • Evolutionary dynamics is often viewed as a subtle process of change accumulation that causes a divergence among organisms and their genomes. However, this interpretation is an inheritance of a gradualistic view that has been challenged at the macroevolutionary, ecological and molecular level. Actually, when the complex architecture of genotype spaces is taken into account, the evolutionary dynamics of molecular populations becomes intrinsically non-uniform, sharing deep qualitative and quantitative similarities with slowly driven physical systems: nonlinear responses analogous to critical transitions, sudden state changes or hysteresis, among others. Furthermore, the phenotypic plasticity inherent to genotypes transforms classical fitness landscapes into multiscapes where adaptation in response to an environmental change may be very fast. The quantitative nature of adaptive molecular processes is deeply dependent on a network-of-networks multilayered structure of the map from genotype to function that we begin to unveil.


  • Mathematics


  • genotype-phenotype map; network-ofnetworks; adaptive multiscapes; molecular promiscuity; phenotypic plasticity; punctuated dynamics