You know, I’m beginning to like these RSS feeds for the arXiv. Two e-prints just popped up in the “quantitative biology” section which I should look over more carefully:
S. N. Dorogovtsev, A. V. Goltsev, J. F. F. Mendes. “Critical phenomena in complex networks” (review article).
The combination of the compactness of networks, featuring small diameters, and their complex architectures results in a variety of critical effects dramatically different from those in cooperative systems on lattices. In the last few years, researchers have made important steps toward understanding the qualitatively new critical phenomena in complex networks. We review the results, concepts, and methods of this rapidly developing field. Here we mostly consider two closely related classes of these critical phenomena, namely structural phase transitions in the network architectures and transitions in cooperative models on networks as substrates. We also discuss systems where a network and interacting agents on it influence each other. We overview a wide range of critical phenomena in equilibrium and growing networks including the birth of the giant connected component, percolation, k-core percolation, phenomena near epidemic thresholds, condensation transitions, critical phenomena in spin models placed on networks, synchronization, and self-organized criticality effects in interacting systems on networks. We also discuss strong finite size effects in these systems and highlight open problems and perspectives.
Volkan Sevim, Per Arne Rikvold. “Chaotic Gene Regulatory Networks Can Be Robust Against Mutations and Noise.”
Robustness to mutations and noise has been shown to evolve through stabilizing selection for optimal phenotypes in model gene regulatory networks. The ability to evolve robust mutants is known to depend on the network architecture. How do the dynamical properties and state-space structures of networks with high and low robustness differ? Does selection operate on the global dynamical behavior of the networks? What kind of state-space structures are favored by selection? We provide damage propagation analysis and an extensive statistical analysis of state spaces of these model networks to show that the change in their dynamical properties due to stabilizing selection for optimal phenotypes is minor. Most notably, the networks that are most robust to both mutations and noise are highly chaotic. Certain properties of chaotic networks, such as being able to produce large attractor basins, can be useful for maintaining a stable gene-expression pattern. Our findings indicate that conventional measures of stability, such as the damage-propagation rate, do not provide much information about robustness to mutations or noise in model gene regulatory networks.
Watch this space for my further thoughts.