Extracting viability landscapes from mutagen-response experiments

Emmanuel Tannenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper outlines a novel approach for determining the importance of various genes to the viability of an organism. The basic idea is to treat a population of cells at various concentrations of mutagen, and determine which genes lose functionality due to genetic drift at the various mutagen concentrations. The more strongly a given collection of genes contributes to the fitness of an organism, the higher the mutation rate required to induce loss of functionality in those genes via genetic drift. We argue that mutagen-based methods, if reliably implementable, can elucidate correlations amongst genes, and determine which sets of genes correspond to redundant pathways in the cell. The data obtained from mutagen-based methods could also be used to organize the genes in a genome into hierarchies of increasing importance to the fitness of the cell. Thus, such methods could shed light on the evolutionary history of an organism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Mar 2007


  • Deletion sets
  • Error cascade
  • Error catastrophe
  • Gene network
  • Quasispecies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


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