A Sequence-Based, Population Genetic Model of Regulatory Pathway Evolution
Nakhleh, Luay K.
Master of Science
Complex phenotypes with genetic cause are understood through many processes, including regulatory pathways, but our evolutionary understanding of these critical structures is undermined by poor models which fail to preserve the underlying sequence structure and to incorporate population genetics. In response, this thesis builds a pathway model of evolution from its underlying sequence structure and validates it against a pertinent problem in genome evolution which uniquely leverage the developed model. Specifically, my model preserves sequence characteristics through a novel data structure and pathway-level mutation and recombination rates which are functions of sequence properties. The utility of the model is validated with a study quantifying the advantages and disadvantages of expansive non-coding DNA regions on the establishment of optimal pathways. Because the model presented in this thesis rectifies many fundamental problems in previous models, it may serve as a critical tool for future work in pathway evolution.
Applied sciences; Biological sciences; Evolution & development; Bioinformatics; Computer science