A Theoretical Framework for Evolutionary Cell Biology

Michael Lynch, Bogi Trickovic

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


One of the last uncharted territories in evolutionary biology concerns the link with cell biology. Because all phenotypes ultimately derive from events at the cellular level, this connection is essential to building a mechanism-based theory of evolution. Given the impressive developments in cell biological methodologies at the structural and functional levels, the potential for rapid progress is great. The primary challenge for theory development is the establishment of a quantitative framework that transcends species boundaries. Two approaches to the problem are presented here: establishing the long-term steady-state distribution of mean phenotypes under specific regimes of mutation, selection, and drift and evaluating the energetic costs of cellular structures and functions. Although not meant to be the final word, these theoretical platforms harbor potential for generating insight into a diversity of unsolved problems, ranging from genome structure to cellular architecture to aspects of motility in organisms across the Tree of Life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1861-1879
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 27 2020


  • bacterial envelope
  • bioenergetic costs
  • cell motility
  • evolutionary cell biology
  • population genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'A Theoretical Framework for Evolutionary Cell Biology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this