Canalization and Control in Automata Networks

Dynamical Modularity
Dynamical Modularity

Read our latest paper titled Canalization and Control in Automata Networks: Body Segmentation in Drosophila melanogaster in PLoS ONE. Authors¬†Manuel Marques-Pita & Luis Rocha¬†ask, How do cells and tissues ‘compute’? Schema redescription is presented as a methodology to characterize canalization in automata networks used to model biochemical regulation and signalling. Canalization becomes synonymous with redundancy present in the logic of automata. This results in straightforward measures to quantify canalization in an automaton (micro-level), which is in turn integrated into a highly scalable framework to characterize the collective dynamics of large-scale automata networks (macro-level). Several new results ensue from this methodology developed as part of the CASCI collective dynamics project: uncovering of dynamical modularity (modules in the dynamics rather than in the structure of networks), identification of minimal conditions and critical nodes to control the convergence to attractors, simulation of dynamical behaviour from incomplete information about initial conditions, and measures of macro-level canalization and robustness to perturbations. The methodology is applicable to any complex network that can be modelled using automata, but this work focuses on biochemical regulation and signalling, with a well-known model of the intra- and inter cellular genetic regulation of body segmentation in Drosophila melanogaster.