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|Paper IPM / Biological Sciences / 13510||
Decision making at a cellular level determines different fates for isogenic cells. However, it is not yet clear how rational decisions are encoded in the genome, how they are transmitted to their offspring, and whether they evolve and become optimized throughout generations. In this paper, we use a game theoretic approach to explain how rational decisions are made in the presence of cooperators and competitors. Our results suggest the existence of an internal switch that operates as a biased coin. The biased coin is, in fact, a biochemical bistable network of interacting genes that can flip to one of its stable states in response to different environmental stimuli. We present a framework to describe how the positions of attractors in such a gene regulatory network correspond to the behavior of a rational player in a competing environment. We evaluate our model by considering lysis/lysogeny decision making of bacteriophage lambda in E. coli.
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