Emmanuel Tannenbaum (Ben Gurion University)
Tuesday, 4.11.2008, 11:30
This talk provides an introduction to quasispecies theory, a framework for modeling evolutionary dynamics that was originally introduced to study problems related to the origin of life. Since the original formulation of the theory by Manfred Eigen in 1971, quasispecies theory has been used to study evolutionary processes in a variety of other contexts, but with a focus on molecular and viral evolution. In recent years, we have worked to steadily develop quasispecies theory into a useful tool for analyzing the evolutionary dynamics of living systems. After giving a brief overview of quasispecies theory, this talk discusses our work in this area, covering such topics as genetic repair, semiconservative replication, complex fitness landscapes, and asexual versus sexual replication strategies. We also show how this work may be applied to study important biological problems such as mutation-propagation in stem cells, cancer, and the emergence of antibiotic drug resistance in bacteria. We conclude by describing our plans for future work, and discuss the importance of this area to the field of quantitative and computational biology.