Bornberg-Bauer E and Kramer L
Robustness Versus Evolvability: A Paradigm Revisited. (#R)
HFSP Journal 4(3), 2010

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Evolvability is the property of a biological system to quickly adapt to new requirements. Robustness seems to be the opposite. Nonetheless many biological systems display both properties—a puzzling observation, which has caused many debates over the last decades. A recently published model by Draghi et al. [Nature 463, 353–355 (2010)] elegantly circumvents complications of earlier in silico studies of molecular systems and provides an analytical solution, which is surprisingly independent from parameter choice. Depending on the mutation rate and the number of accessible phenotypes at any given genotype, evolvability and robustness can be reconciled. Further research will need to investigate if these parameter settings adequately represent the range of degrees of freedom covered by natural systems and if natural systems indeed assume a state in which both properties, robustness and evolvability, are featured.