Recombination shapes genetic effects on fitness. Modified from Livnat et al., "Sex, mixability and modularity," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 107:1452-7.
We study how mutational and recombinational mechanisms affect the process of evolution at the fundamental level while employing a wide range of techniques, from mathematical models to cutting-edge experimental methods. By revisiting the fundamentals of evolution, our research has potential implications in diverse fields, from evolutionary biology to molecular medicine and computation.
Research Questions and Directions
Are the probabilities of mutation origination mutation-specific?
Do they depend on the genotype in a complex manner?
Is there a relation between the fundamental nature of mu-tation and the role of sexual reproduction in evolution?
We also work on expanding the bridge between evolution-ary biology and theoretical computer science, examining the evolutionary process through the computational lens.
A new paper by the Livnat lab in Genome Research shows that the malaria-resistant HbS mutation originates more frequently in the gene and in the population where it is of adaptive significance, providing first evidence on nonrandom mutation that is inexplicable from traditional evolutionary theory. Link
Charlesworth and Coyne, who have criticized the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis and who firmly believe in the notion of random mutation, have also disapproved of our new empirical findings.