Complexity Forum: Barbara Drossel (Technische Universität Darmstadt)
Speaker: Barbara Drossel (Technische Universität Darmstadt)
Title: Boolean networks as simple models for gene regulation
Abstract: Boolean networks, where each node can take only two possible values, are used to model phenomena as different as social interactions, gene regulation and communication between neurons. In the original "random" form of the model, introduced in 1969 by Stuart Kauffman, each node receives an input from a fixed number of randomly chosen other nodes. The properties of this model were understood only during the last ten years, showing that these networks are not sufficiently robust to be applicable to gene regulation. However, by submitting the model networks to an evolutionary process, robust networks can be obtained. Furthermore, such studies show that the fitness landscape has a plateau with maximum fitness resulting in the fact that structurally very different networks are able to fulfill the same task.