Biological self-organization as an interplay between stability and flexibility
The development of organisms must be robust enough to maintain adaptive patterns and flexible enough to enable coping with fluctuating external and internal conditions (e.g. environmental, genetic, epigenetic and symbiotic perturbations). How this tension between stability and flexibility is handled and the potential implications of this co-existence to establishment of new adaptations are not clear.
We are addressing these questions by studying stress-induced induction and inheritance of altered developmental patterns in flies. We identified epigenetic and symbiotic-mediated mechanisms which promote increased developmental flexibility under stress and contribute to non-Mendelian transfer of influences across generations.
I will present these findings and discuss their potential implications for bridging ecological and evolutionary processes.