Evolutionary Analysis of Molecular Movements

Comparative Biology is a major contributor to biological understanding and can applied to any biological objects that are homologous. The large application area presently is sequences, but other rising areas include structures, networks, organs and more. The strength of evolutionary comparison is the ability to detect features of functional importance and thus select properties that demands a functional explanation from a sea of noise. The only requirement for evolutionary comparison is that the objects to be compared are homologous. In this sense movements are perfectly homologous as the movements associated an ancestral molecule would be inherited with modification, when the molecule evolved over evolutionary time. Movements of molecules have a series of special properties that singles them out compared to other comparative traits. If we imagined comparing the movements of globins over time, this would involve about 3000 atom positions, that could be observed in 109 time steps of size 10-15 seconds. One could imagine 2-10 globins had been observed and the total data set would be of the order 1010 spatial positions. Due to the increase in use of molecular dynamics, this kind of analysis have great potential and it is clear that analysis of such data would need entirely new approaches.