Sociology in the Genetic World

Pan-Jun Kim
(Leader of the Junior Research Group, Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics, POSTECH)

Genes in organisms have a number of social interactions with one another in their biological contexts. For example, proteins produced from one gene may interact with other proteins produced from another gene to perform together a particular biological task, and such pair of cooperative genes may often reside together in the same organisms. We analyzed thousands of genes across ~600 bacterial species, and found genes with favored co-occurrence in the same organisms (termed $correlogs$) or disfavored co-occurrence (termed $anti-correlogs$). These co-occurrence patterns are significantly reflective of actual biochemical interplays between genes, and distinct cliques of correlogous genes are seamlessly interrelated through anti-correlogous links between the cliques. The sociology of genes inferred by this approach provides useful information on how to engineer a cell, such as for production of a desired byproduct.