Superfamilies of Evolved and Designed Networks

Ron Milo, Shalev Itzkovitz, Nadav Kashtan, Reuven Levitt, Shai Shen-Orr, Inbal Ayzenshtat, Michal Sheffer, Uri Alon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1142 Scopus citations


Complex biological, technological, and sociological networks can be of very different sizes and connectivities, making it difficult to compare their structures. Here we present an approach to systematically study similarity in the local structure of networks, based on the significance profile (SP) of small subgraphs in the network compared to randomized networks. We find several superfamilies of previously unrelated networks with very similar SPs. One superfamily, including transcription networks of microorganisms, represents "rate-limited" information-processing networks strongly constrained by the response time of their components. A distinct superfamily includes protein signaling, developmental genetic networks, and neuronal wiring. Additional superfamilies include power grids, protein-structure networks and geometric networks, World Wide Web links and social networks, and word-adjacency networks from different languages.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1538-1542
Number of pages5
Issue number5663
StatePublished - 5 Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


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