Constraints and plasticity in genome and molecular-phenome evolution

Nat Rev Genet. 2010 Jul;11(7):487-98. doi: 10.1038/nrg2810.


Multiple constraints variously affect different parts of the genomes of diverse life forms. The selective pressures that shape the evolution of viral, archaeal, bacterial and eukaryotic genomes differ markedly, even among relatively closely related animal and bacterial lineages; by contrast, constraints affecting protein evolution seem to be more universal. The constraints that shape the evolution of genomes and phenomes are complemented by the plasticity and robustness of genome architecture, expression and regulation. Taken together, these findings are starting to reveal complex networks of evolutionary processes that must be integrated to attain a new synthesis of evolutionary biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Archaea / genetics
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • DNA / genetics
  • Eukaryota / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome*
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Viruses / genetics


  • Proteins
  • DNA