Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 12, Iss. 2, April, 2008, pp. 133-151
@2008 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


New Method to Study DNA Sequences: The Languages of Evolution

Gino Spinelli, University of Bari, Italy
David Mayer-Foulkes, Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas, Mexico

Abstract: Recently, several authors have reported statistical evidence for deterministic dynamics in the flux of genetic information, suggesting that evolution involves the emergence and maintenance of a fractal landscape in DNA chains. Here we examine the idea that motif repetition lies at the origin of these statistical properties of DNA. To analyse repetition patterns we apply a modification of the BDS statistic, devised to analyze complex economic dynamics and adapted here to DNA sequence analysis. This provides a new method to detect structured signals in genetic information. We compare naturally occurring DNA sequences along the evolutionary tree with randomly generated sequences and also with simulated sequences with repetition motifs. For easier understanding, we also define a new statistic for a DNA sequence that constitutes a specific fingerprint. The new methods are applied to exon and intron DNA sequences, finding specific statistical differences. Moreover, by analysing DNA sequences of different species from Bacteria to Man, we explore the evolution of these linguistic DNA features along the evolutionary tree. The results are consistent with the idea that all the flux of DNA information need not be random, but may be structured along the evolutionary tree. The implications for evolutionary theory are discussed.

Keywords: heterochromatin, DNA, complexity, fractals, evolution, self-organization