Iain Couzin, Princeton University

A fundamental problem in a wide range of biological disciplines is understanding how functional complexity at a macroscopic scale (such as the functioning of a biological tissue) results from the actions and interactions among the individual components (such as the cells forming the tissue). Animal groups such as bird flocks, fish schools and insect swarms frequently exhibit complex and coordinated collective behaviors and present unrivaled opportunities to link the behavior of individuals with the functioning and efficiency of dynamic group-level properties.

Joanna Masel, University of Arizona

Making genes into gene products is subject to predictable errors, each with a phenotypic effect that depends on a normally cryptic sequence. The distribution of fitness effects of these cryptic sequences, like that of new mutations, is bimodal. For example, a cryptic sequence might be strongly deleterious if it causes protein misfolding, or it might have only a minor effect if it preserves the protein fold and tweaks function. Few sequences have effect sizes that fall in between.

Image from Kruglyak lab featured on PLoS Biology cover

Posted Jul 27, 2011

A figure created by Hannah Seidel, a former member of Leonid Kruglyak's lab, is the featured image for the July 2011 issue of PLoS Biology. Dr. Seidel, now at the University of Wisconsin, took the photo while in the Kruglyak lab, and it accompanies her paper, "A novel sperm-delivered toxin causes late-stage embryo lethality and transmission ratio distortion in C. elegans." The paper is also covered in a PLoS Biology Primer, "Invertebrate post-segregation distorters: A new embryo-killing gene."


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