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Quantitative developmental genetic analysis of phenotypic buffering and cryptic variation

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 ROBUSTNET project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the ROBUSTNET project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "ROBUSTNET" about.

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Project "ROBUSTNET" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: LONDON
postcode: SW7 2AZ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙499˙745 €
 EC max contribution 1˙499˙745 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-10-01   to  2020-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Randomness pervades life and biological systems are continuously subject to variation. This variation may be stochastic, due to random fluctuations in the concentration of critical molecules, genetic, due to mutation accumulation, or environmental, because of changes in the environment over time. It is therefore remarkable how biological systems manage to operate with so much precision. The property of a system to produce an invariant output in the presence of considerable noise is called robustness. Development itself is highly robust to noise and this is instrumental for the successful transformation of a fertilised egg into a multi-cellular individual. Developmental robustness ensures the stability of phenotypic traits, including correct cell numbers in a given tissue. While research on developmental robustness has seen a surge over the last 15 years, most studies have remained theoretical, and we still lack appropriate experimental systems to elucidate the mechanisms via which robust outputs are achieved. We propose here to follow a system-wide, integrative approach to study the mechanisms, evolution and consequences of developmental robustness in a multi-cellular model organism. To this end, C. elegans is a very attractive system because developmental patterning is highly stereotypical and animals are isogenic, thereby allowing precise control of the genetic background. Focusing on a new experimental model, the epithelial seam cell number variation, and using comprehensive molecular developmental genetics, genomics and imaging we will derive principles about the contribution of genes to stabilisation of developmental outcomes and will develop a developmental framework for phenotypic buffering. Understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying developmental robustness is highly relevant to biomedical sciences, as many diseases can be understood in the context of debuffering of normal physiological states.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2017 Dimitris Katsanos, Sneha L. Koneru, Lamia Mestek Boukhibar, Nicola Gritti, Ritobrata Ghose, Peter J. Appleford, Maria Doitsidou, Alison Woollard, Jeroen S. van Zon, Richard J. Poole, Michalis Barkoulas
Stochastic loss and gain of symmetric divisions in the C. elegans epidermis perturbs robustness of stem cell number
published pages: e2002429, ISSN: 1545-7885, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2002429
PLOS Biology 15/11 2019-05-29
2018 Guled A. Osman, Michael K. Fasseas, Sneha L. Koneru, Clara L. Essmann, Kyros Kyrou, Mandayam A. Srinivasan, Gaotian Zhang, Peter Sarkies, Marie-Anne Félix, Michalis Barkoulas
Natural Infection of C. elegans by an Oomycete Reveals a New Pathogen-Specific Immune Response
published pages: 640-648.e5, ISSN: 0960-9822, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.01.029
Current Biology 28/4 2019-05-29

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