Marc Kirschner begins his talk by defining evolvability as the capacity of an organism to generate phenotypic novelty, particularly novelty that is useful and heritable. He goes on to explain that evolvability may be driven by just a few mechanisms. For example, changing the time or place in which a gene is expressed may be sufficient to generate a novel phenotype without requiring a change in the gene product. Until we have a better understanding of how genes map to phenotypes, however, it remains difficult to understand the nature of evolvability. Kirschner suggests that perhaps advances in computational learning will help us to decipher how evolvability works through biology.
In 1993, Dr. Marc Kirschner joined Harvard University where he became the founding chair of the Department of Cell Biology. In 2003, he moved to Harvard Medical School to found the Department of Systems Biology. Research in Kirschner’s lab focuses on problems that require the coordination of biological events in time and space. His lab… Continue Reading