Metabolic Networks, Information, Null Model, and Evolution

Mar 19, 2010, 11:45 AM
Nordita Seminar Room 132:028 (Nordita)

Nordita Seminar Room 132:028



Petter Minnhagen


The metabolism in an organism is reduced to a network of substances. The resulting degree-distribution is power law like with an exponent about 2.2. In order to understand this, we use information theory to obtain a null-model defined by assigning equal probabilities to what is assumed to be the fundamental network possibilities. A stochastic variant of variational calculus is used to obtain the corresponding degree distribution for the null-model. The striking agreement implies that the null model catches the overall feature of the metabolic network. Using the network structure measures like clustering and assortativity, a small difference is identified as the only sign of any possible evolutionary pressure. However, this difference is only manifested in a slight difference in the degree distribution and seemingly not in any particular network design.

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