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  1. Abstract Protein–protein interaction (PPI) networks represent complex intra-cellular protein interactions, and the presence or absence of such interactions can lead to biological changes in an organism. Recent network-based approaches have shown that a phenotype’s PPI network’s resilience to environmental perturbations is related to its placement in the tree of life; though we still do not know how or why certain intra-cellular factors can bring about this resilience. Here, we explore the influence of gene expression and network properties on PPI networks’ resilience. We use publicly available data of PPIs for E. coli , S. cerevisiae , and H. sapiens , where we compute changes in network resilience as new nodes (proteins) are added to the networks under three node addition mechanisms—random, degree-based, and gene-expression-based attachments. By calculating the resilience of the resulting networks, we estimate the effectiveness of these node addition mechanisms. We demonstrate that adding nodes with gene-expression-based preferential attachment (as opposed to random or degree-based) preserves and can increase the original resilience of PPI network in all three species, regardless of gene expression distribution or network structure. These findings introduce a general notion of prospective resilience , which highlights the key role of network structures in understanding the evolvability of phenotypic traits. 
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  2. Quantifying the differences between networks is a challenging and ever-present problem in network science. In recent years, a multitude of diverse, ad hoc solutions to this problem have been introduced. Here, we propose that simple and well-understood ensembles of random networks—such as Erdős–Rényi graphs, random geometric graphs, Watts–Strogatz graphs, the configuration model and preferential attachment networks—are natural benchmarks for network comparison methods. Moreover, we show that the expected distance between two networks independently sampled from a generative model is a useful property that encapsulates many key features of that model. To illustrate our results, we calculate this within-ensemble graph distance and related quantities for classic network models (and several parameterizations thereof) using 20 distance measures commonly used to compare graphs. The within-ensemble graph distance provides a new framework for developers of graph distances to better understand their creations and for practitioners to better choose an appropriate tool for their particular task. 
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