Robustez: uma chave para o design evolucionário

segunda-feira, maio 30, 2011

Biological Theory/1/1/2006

Robustness: A Key to Evolutionary Design

Peter Hammerstein,∗ Edward H. Hagen, Andreas V. M. Herz, and Hanspeter Herzel

Institute for Theoretical Biology, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

Received October 20, 2005; accepted October 24, 2005

Why Bother About Robustness?

Engineers wish to create systems that are both functional and robust. Robustness is the ability of a system to maintain its functionality across a wide range of operational conditions.

Different conditions arise, for example, from environmental variation, input perturbation, sloppiness of system components, and subversion (e.g., computer viruses). In the life sciences, robustness has been an implicit theme for more than a century. For instance, biologists have long understood mechanisms of thermoregulation that enable homeothermic organisms to operate throughout an impressive range of ambient temperatures. It would thus seem like selling old wine in new bottles if one claimed robustness to be a new theme of the life sciences. New, however, is the recognition that robustness is a key to understanding the evolutionary design of virtually all living systems (see Kitano 2004 for an excellent review). This is why it is now worthwhile to further develop the biological concept of robustness and to reflect on its role in the life sciences.