In which we consider the dynamics of genes and gene expression, and how genome dynamics leads to families of genes and facilitates evolutionary change. We consider how DNA is organized within a cell and how its organization influences gene expression. Finally we consider the behavior of regulatory networks at the molecular level and the role of molecular level noise in producing interesting behaviors.
At this point we have introduced genes, DNA, and proteins, but we have left unresolved a number of important questions. These include how genomes are organized, how they evolve, how new genes and alleles are generated, and how they work together to produce the various behaviors that organisms display254. We will touch on such trendy topics such as epigenetics (which is probably less interesting than most suppose) and the rather complex molecular and cellular level processes behind even the simplest biological behaviors. The details, where known–and often they are not–are beyond the scope of this course, but the basic themes are relatively straightforward, although it does takes some practice to master this type of thinking. The key is to keep calm and analyze on!