Systems-level insights from large-scale combinatorial perturbation experiments in yeast

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 10:30am - 11:15am
Keller 3-180
Chad Myers (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
Recent developments in experimental technology have enabled the rapid construction of combinatorial genetic perturbations in a number of different model organism. Interestingly, certain combinations of harmless single perturbations can result in dramatic phenotypes, suggesting built-in network redundancy is a ubiquitous property of cellular systems. While the interactions derived from these large-scale screens have proven to be highly informative for mapping gene function, many challenges remain in the specific interpretation of genetic interactions and their relation to other genomic features.

In this talk, I will describe our recent efforts to understand the results of large-scale genetic interaction screens in the context of the model organism yeast. In collaboration with a yeast genetics lab, we have measured quantitative phenotypes for millions of double deletion mutants. I will address the general question of how we can learn systems-level biology from these experiments and demonstrate their utility for characterizing global cellular function and organization. Finally, I will highlight several open problems in the interpretation of genetic interaction networks and discuss where innovations in machine learning and data mining are particularly relevant.