Bridging the genotype-phenotype gap: what does it take?

Stig Omholt.

The genotype–phenotype map (GP map) concept applies to any time point in the ontogeny of a living system. It is the outcome of very complex dynamics that include environmental effects, and bridging the genotype–phenotype gap is synonymous with understanding these dynamics. The context for this understanding is physiology, and the disciplinary goals of physiology do indeed demand the physiological community to seek this understanding.

This task is beyond reach without use of mathematical models that bind together genetic and phenotypic data in a causally cohesive way. Bridging the genotype–phenotype gap also demands that large-scale biological (‘omics’) data and associated bioinformatics resources be more effectively integrated with computational physiology than is currently the case.

A third major element is the need for developing a phenomics technology way beyond current state of the art that is solidly grounded on biophysically based mathematical descriptions of physiology.

About Stig Omholt

Stig W. Omholt is Research Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Director of its new cross-campus biotechnology programme ‘NTNU Biotechnology – the Confluence of Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences and Engineering’.

His current research interests include the etiology of hypertension, aspects of the astroglia–neuron interaction in the brain, model-guided drug targeting, experimental evolution, life-history biology, and the linking of genetics with systems dynamics and multiscale modelling.