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The best of both worlds? Reverse-engineering regulatory systemsReverse engineering allows us to connect mechanistic explanations with systems views of regulatory processes. It is based on fitting dynamical models to quantitative sets of experimental data yielding insights into the regulatory principles that produce the observed dynamics. This provides systems-level explanations of regulatory dynamics rooted in detailed molecular evidence. I illustrate the reverse-engineering approach with two concrete examples: (1) An evolutionary comparison of the gap gene network—involved in determining the segmented body plan of dipteran insects. (2) A comparison of regulatory principles between patterning in fly embryos and those determining different neuronal types in the vertebrate neural tube.
Konrad Lorenz Institute (KLI), Klosterneuburg, AT