On the origin of biomolecular networks

Heeralal Janwa, Steven E. Massey, Julian Velev, Bud Mishra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biomolecular networks have already found great utility in characterizing complex biological systems arising from pairwise interactions amongst biomolecules. Here, we explore the important and hitherto neglected role of information asymmetry in the genesis and evolution of such pairwise biomolecular interactions. Information asymmetry between sender and receiver genes is identified as a key feature distinguishing early biochemical reactions from abiotic chemistry, and a driver of network topology as biomolecular systems become more complex. In this context, we review how graph theoretical approaches can be applied not only for a better understanding of various proximate (mechanistic) relations, but also, ultimate (evolutionary) structures encoded in such networks from among all types of variations they induce. Among many possible variations, we emphasize particularly the essential role of gene duplication in terms of signaling game theory, whereby sender and receiver gene players accrue benefit from gene duplication, leading to a preferential attachment mode of network growth. The study of the resulting dynamics suggests many mathematical/computational problems, the majority of which are intractable yet yield to efficient approximation algorithms, when studied through an algebraic graph theoretic lens. We relegate for future work the role of other possible generalizations, additionally involving horizontal gene transfer, sexual recombination, endo-symbiosis, etc., which enrich the underlying graph theory even further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number240
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 2019


  • Biomolecules
  • Interaction (binary) relationship
  • Network analysis
  • Network model
  • Regulation and communication
  • Spectral analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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