Research Projects

Genetic Networks:
Modeling Genetic Networks

Collaborative Project with Brenda Andrews' Lab


Anastasia Baryshnikova


How do we define genetic interactions? A genetic interaction describes a scenario where the outcome of a particular mutation is affected by the presence or absence of pre-existing genetic perturbations. For example, genes A and B genetically interact if the effect of a mutation in gene B (designated b ) is more severe in a background where the function of gene A is also disrupted compared to the effect of mutant b in a wild-type genetic background. Various classes of genetic interactions have been described and include synthetic lethality (see above) and epistatic interactions where one mutation completely masks the effect of the other so that the ab double mutant is a phenocopy of one of the singles.

What do genetic interactions mean?

Geneticists have been studying genetic interactions for over 100 years leading to the following fundamental observations:

  1. We expect to see synthetic interactions (such as synthetic lethality or sickness) between genes acting in parallel pathways impinging on the same cellular process OR between genes in the same essential pathway (examined using hypomorphic or conditional alleles).
  2. Genes acting at different steps of the same nonessential pathway show epistatic interactions from which it's often possible to delineate gene order in a given pathway

Our goal is to define a set of rules to describe the genotype-phenotype relation in yeast. We are using computational analysis to process and analyze phenotypic data generated by three high-throughput techniques: synthetic genetic array (SGA), large-scale growth curve measurements and morphological profiling of yeast mutants.

More information about genetic interactions in yeast and in other organisms can be found at This resource is being maintained by Anastasia Baryshnikova to collect and organize sparse knowledge regarding genetic interactions including terminology, scientific reports and reviews, research groups involved, available software, etc.

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This page was last updated on Thursday, 25 November, 2010 2:43 PM