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HomeSciencePhysicsDisordered Systems Mimic Genetic Evolution

Disordered Systems Mimic Genetic Evolution

• Physics 15, s118

A bacterial genome’s evolution below altering drug concentrations shows results of reminiscence formation and mimics how disordered solids reply to exterior forces.

S. G. Das and M. Mungan/University of Cologne

Modern drugs forces micro organism to adapt: in response to antibiotic remedy, they both enhance their health or die out. Whether a bacterial inhabitants survives or not will depend on a mixture of its genetics and surroundings—the antibiotic focus—at a given second. Now Suman Das of the University of Cologne, Germany, and colleagues simulate the impact on adaptation of an surroundings that’s always altering [1]. Using a mannequin that describes how slow-moving disordered methods reply to exterior forces, the researchers discover that microbe evolution in altering drug concentrations reveals hysteresis and reminiscence formation. They use analytical strategies and numerical simulations to attach these statistical physics ideas to bacterial drug resistance.

The crew’s mannequin examines adjustments in a bacterial inhabitants’s genetic sequences. By combining knowledge on bacterial development charges with statistical instruments, the researchers describe how the bacterial genome can retailer details about each current and previous drug concentrations. Their simulations begin with a genetic sequence optimized for a sure antibiotic focus. They then observe how the sequence mutates when the focus shifts to a different worth. When the focus will increase after which reduces to a decrease worth, the genetic route taken on the downward path will depend on the adjustments on the upward path. How totally different the mutation routes are will depend on the speed of focus change.

The researchers discover that this habits mimics that of disordered methods pushed by exterior forces, akin to ferromagnetic supplies subjected to magnetic fields or amorphous supplies subjected to a shearing pressure. They say that whereas their strategy focuses on the evolution of drug resistance, the framework might be tailored to different issues in evolutionary biology that contain altering environmental parameters.

–Rachel Berkowitz

Rachel Berkowitz is a Corresponding Editor for Physics Magazine based mostly in Vancouver, Canada.


  1. S. G. Das et al., “Driven disordered systems approach to biological evolution in changing environments,” Phys. Rev. X 12, 031040 (2022).

Subject Areas

Statistical PhysicsBiological Physics

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