The genome dynamics and constraint in biology

Henry Heng
Molecular Medicine and Genetics
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Presented in the Embryo Physics Course, March 12, 2014


Genetics and evolution represent two of the most important scientific disciplines and hold significant roles in the foundation of current biology.  To date, however, most molecular understanding of these subjects is based on gene-centric concepts, leading to many obvious paradoxes.  To address these issues, a genome based framework is urgently needed that can appropriately define system inheritance and illustrate the patterns of evolutionary dynamics and constraint.  In this presentation, the concept of 4D-Genomics will be introduced as a new framework based on the genome theory of cancer and organismal evolution.  In particular, the following questions will be briefly discussed through the lens of genome based evolutionary theory:  How do karyotypes, rather than specific genes, define the system or species?  What are the two phases of cancer evolution (Punctuated and Darwinian stepwise)?  What is the main function of sex and how is system inheritance defined and maintained?  What is the relationship between gene defined microevolution and genome defined macroevolution?  Finally, what is the importance of separating germ line and somatic cells?

Key References

Heng HH. (2009). The genome-centric concept: resynthesis of evolutionary theory. BioEssays 31: 512-525.
Heng HH, et al. Decoding the genome beyond sequencing: The new phase of genomic research. Genomics. 2011 98:242-52.
Heng, HH, et al. (2011) Evolutionary mechanisms and diversity in cancer. Advances in Cancer Research – 112:217-53.
Horne et al, et al. (2013) Genome constraint through sexsual reproduction: application of 4D-Genomics in reproductive biology. Syst Biol Reprod Med. 59: 124-130.
Stevens JB, et al. (2013). Unstable genomes elevate transcriptome dynamics. Int J Cancer. 134: 2074-2087.



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