The Dichotomy in Degree Correlation of Biological Networks
Most complex networks from different areas such as biology, sociology or technology, show a correlation on node degree where the possibility of a link between two nodes depends on their connectivity. It is widely believed that complex networks are either disassortative (links between hubs are systematically suppressed) or assortative (links between hubs are enhanced). In this paper, we analyze a variety of biological networks and find that they generally show a dichotomous degree correlation. We find that many properties of biological networks can be explained by this dichotomy in degree correlation, including the neighborhood connectivity, the sickle-shaped clustering coefficient distribution and the modularity structure. This dichotomy distinguishes biological networks from real disassortative networks or assortative networks such as the Internet and social networks. We suggest that the modular structure of networks accounts for the dichotomy in degree correlation and vice versa, shedding light on the source of modularity in biological networks. We further show that a robust and well connected network necessitates the dichotomy of degree correlation, suggestive of an evolutionary motivation for its existence. Finally, we suggest that a dichotomous degree correlation favors a centrally connected modular network, by which the integrity of network and specificity of modules might be reconciled.