Chaotic Dynamics in an Electronic Model of a Genetic Network

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We consider dynamics in a class of piecewise-linear ordinary differential equations and in an electronic circuit that model genetic networks. In these models, gene activity varies continuously in time. However, as in Boolean or discrete-time switching networks, gene activity is driven high or low based only on whether the activities of the regulating genes are high or low (i.e., above or below certain thresholds). Depending on the “regulatory logic”, these models can exhibit simple dynamics, like stable fixed points or oscillation, or chaotic dynamics. The observed qualitative and quantitative differences between the dynamics in the idealized equations and the dynamics in the electronic circuit lead us to focus attention on the analysis of the dynamics as a function of parameter values. We propose new techniques for solving the inverse problem - the problem of inferring the regulatory logic and parameters from time series data. We also give new symbolic and statistical methods for characterizing dynamics in these networks.

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