Dr. Claudia Bank, Gulbenkia Institute
The analogy of a fitness landscape, which links a genotype or phenotype to the fitness of its carrier, has inspired scientists for almost a decade. Work in the Evolutionary Dynamics lab revolves around the study of both theoretical and empirical fitness landscapes, with the aim to address various questions: What is the role of epistasis (i.e., genetic interactions for fitness) in adaptation and speciation? Can we predict evolution based on our knowledge of fitness landscapes? How much information do we need to infer the shape of a fitness landscape? I will elucidate our approach to these questions using examples from recent and ongoing work in the lab, in which we make use of experimental data from yeast and influenza virus.