Sunday, July 26, 2009
Noise Makes a Huge Difference
It turns out that speciation can occur beginning with genetically identical organisms. The difference? Partial penetrance, due to noise. Random variations in protein distributions -- noise -- affect development. It is pointed out that "It's interesting that noise—these random fluctuations of proteins in the cell—is critical for this to work." As information theory teaches us about other systems, "Noise is not just a nuisance in this system; it's a key part of the process that allows genetically identical cells to do very different things." An interesting epigenetic effect. Further evidence that one cannot predict what different complex systems will do, even if their underlying archeology is identical.