Annual Review of Biomedical Data Science | VOL. 5

Discovering Biological Conflict Systems Through Genome Analysis: Evolutionary Principles and Biochemical Novelty

Publication Date Aug 10, 2022


Biological replicators, from genes within a genome to whole organisms, are locked in conflicts. Comparative genomics has revealed a staggering diversity of molecular armaments and mechanisms regulating their deployment, collectively termed biological conflict systems. These encompass toxins used in inter- and intraspecific interactions, self/nonself discrimination, antiviral immune mechanisms, and counter-host effectors deployed by viruses and intragenomic selfish elements. These systems possess shared syntactical features in their organizational logic and a set of effectors targeting genetic information flow through the Central Dogma, certain membranes, and key molecules like NAD+. These principles can be exploited to discover new conflict systems through sensitive computational analyses. This has led to significant advances in our understanding of the biology of these systems and furnished new biotechnological reagents for genome editing, sequencing, and beyond. We discuss these advances using specific examples of toxins, restriction-modification, apoptosis, CRISPR/second messenger–regulated systems, and other enigmatic nucleic acid–targeting systems.


Examples Of Toxins Antiviral Immune Mechanisms Central Dogma Organizational Logic Intraspecific Interactions Key Molecules Comparative Genomics Antiviral Mechanisms Sensitive Analyses Biological Systems

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