Following the concept of our bioinformatics exhibition 'From nucleotides to networks' with pairs of a bioinformatics figure and a real, visually resembling picture, you were challenged to find a resembling picture for the one representing 'A simplified fitness landscape model with two imaginary phenotype axes' by Yves Van de Peer and Steven Maere (left figure below).
How to interpret this figure? Each species is specialized to occupy a specific space in its environment, allowing many species to live side by side. It is a landscape in motion: spaces disappear and new spaces appear due to big changes (for instance climate change) and the species react upon these changes. Red spots in the figure represent spaces where organisms are well adapted. In blue areas species cannot survive. Research reveals that species with a doubled genome (so-called polyploids) can better adapt to new circumstances. The spaces they occupy extend to the dotted lines, beyond the areas within the continuous circles occupied by normal species. Many of our crops are polyploids.
Kai Thoris, a Ghent University student, found visual resemblance with a map of volcano islands and a heatmap of a football match (Brasil during the match Brasil-Germany 1-7, right figure). He receives the book by James Watson 'DNA, The Secret of Life'. Congratulations, Kai!