Reciprocal sign epistasis is a necessary condition for multi-peaked fitness landscapes

Frank J. Poelwijk, Sorin Tǎnase-Nicola, Daniel J. Kiviet, Sander J. Tans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

97 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Having multiple peaks within fitness landscapes critically affects the course of evolution, but whether their presence imposes specific requirements at the level of genetic interactions remains unestablished. Here we show that to exhibit multiple fitness peaks, a biological system must contain reciprocal sign epistatic interactions, which are defined as genetic changes that are separately unfavorable but jointly advantageous. Using Morse theory, we argue that it is impossible to formulate a sufficient condition for multiple peaks in terms of local genetic interactions. These findings indicate that systems incapable of reciprocal sign epistasis will always possess a single fitness peak. However, reciprocal sign epistasis should be pervasive in nature as it is a logical consequence of specificity in molecular interactions. The results thus predict that specific molecular interactions may yield multiple fitness peaks, which can be tested experimentally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-144
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume272
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 7 2011

Fingerprint

Epistasis
Fitness Landscape
Molecular interactions
epistasis
Necessary Conditions
Fitness
Biological systems
Interaction
Morse Theory
Biological Systems
Specificity
Predict
Sufficient Conditions
Requirements

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Epistasis
  • Evolution
  • Fitness landscape
  • Specific interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Applied Mathematics

Cite this

Reciprocal sign epistasis is a necessary condition for multi-peaked fitness landscapes. / Poelwijk, Frank J.; Tǎnase-Nicola, Sorin; Kiviet, Daniel J.; Tans, Sander J.

In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 272, No. 1, 07.03.2011, p. 141-144.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Poelwijk, Frank J. ; Tǎnase-Nicola, Sorin ; Kiviet, Daniel J. ; Tans, Sander J. / Reciprocal sign epistasis is a necessary condition for multi-peaked fitness landscapes. In: Journal of Theoretical Biology. 2011 ; Vol. 272, No. 1. pp. 141-144.
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