Making the right connections: biological networks in the light of evolution



Our understanding of how evolution acts on biological networks remains patchy, as is our knowledge of how that action is best identified, modelled and understood. Starting with network structure and the evolution of protein–protein interaction networks, we briefly survey the ways in which network evolution is being addressed in the fields of systems biology, development and ecology. The approaches highlighted demonstrate a movement away from a focus on network topology towards a more integrated view, placing biological properties centre-stage. We argue that there remains great potential in a closer synergy between evolutionary biology and biological network analysis, although that may require the development of novel approaches and even different analogies for biological networks themselves.