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1.  Interplay of Interlocus Gene Conversion and Crossover in Segmental Duplications Under a Neutral Scenario 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(8):1479-1489.
Interlocus gene conversion is a major evolutionary force that drives the concerted evolution of duplicated genomic regions. Theoretical models successfully have addressed the effects of interlocus gene conversion and the importance of crossover in the evolutionary fate of gene families and duplications but have not considered complex recombination scenarios, such as the presence of hotspots. To study the interplay between interlocus gene conversion and crossover, we have developed a forward-time simulator that allows the exploration of a wide range of interlocus gene conversion rates under different crossover models. Using it, we have analyzed patterns of nucleotide variation and linkage disequilibrium within and between duplicate regions, focusing on a neutral scenario with constant population size and validating our results with the existing theoretical models. We show that the interaction of gene conversion and crossover is nontrivial and that the location of crossover junctions is a fundamental determinant of levels of variation and linkage disequilibrium in duplicated regions. We also show that if crossover activity between duplications is strong enough, recurrent interlocus gene conversion events can break linkage disequilibrium within duplicates. Given the complex nature of interlocus gene conversion and crossover, we provide a framework to explore their interplay to help increase knowledge on molecular evolution within segmental duplications under more complex scenarios, such as demographic changes or natural selection.
doi:10.1534/g3.114.012435
PMCID: PMC4132178  PMID: 24906640
concerted evolution; linkage disequilibrium; recombination hotspots; forward simulations; increased variation
2.  Floral Morphogenesis: Stochastic Explorations of a Gene Network Epigenetic Landscape 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(11):e3626.
In contrast to the classical view of development as a preprogrammed and deterministic process, recent studies have demonstrated that stochastic perturbations of highly non-linear systems may underlie the emergence and stability of biological patterns. Herein, we address the question of whether noise contributes to the generation of the stereotypical temporal pattern in gene expression during flower development. We modeled the regulatory network of organ identity genes in the Arabidopsis thaliana flower as a stochastic system. This network has previously been shown to converge to ten fixed-point attractors, each with gene expression arrays that characterize inflorescence cells and primordial cells of sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels. The network used is binary, and the logical rules that govern its dynamics are grounded in experimental evidence. We introduced different levels of uncertainty in the updating rules of the network. Interestingly, for a level of noise of around 0.5–10%, the system exhibited a sequence of transitions among attractors that mimics the sequence of gene activation configurations observed in real flowers. We also implemented the gene regulatory network as a continuous system using the Glass model of differential equations, that can be considered as a first approximation of kinetic-reaction equations, but which are not necessarily equivalent to the Boolean model. Interestingly, the Glass dynamics recover a temporal sequence of attractors, that is qualitatively similar, although not identical, to that obtained using the Boolean model. Thus, time ordering in the emergence of cell-fate patterns is not an artifact of synchronous updating in the Boolean model. Therefore, our model provides a novel explanation for the emergence and robustness of the ubiquitous temporal pattern of floral organ specification. It also constitutes a new approach to understanding morphogenesis, providing predictions on the population dynamics of cells with different genetic configurations during development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003626
PMCID: PMC2572848  PMID: 18978941

Results 1-2 (2)