Research Article: Epistasis and Entropy

Date Published: December 22, 2016

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Kristina Crona, Jianzhi Zhang

Abstract: Epistasis is a key concept in the theory of adaptation. Indicators of epistasis are of interest for large systems where systematic fitness measurements may not be possible. Some recent approaches depend on information theory. We show that considering shared entropy for pairs of loci can be misleading. The reason is that shared entropy does not imply epistasis for the pair. This observation holds true also in the absence of higher order epistasis. We discuss a method for reducing the number of false positives. However, our main conclusion is that entropy-based approaches have serious limitations in this context.

Partial Text: Methods for inferring gene epistasis, or gene interactions, without fitness measurements are valuable for many reasons. It may be difficult or costly, if even possible, to accurately measure fitness for populations in nature.