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J. Math. Biol. DOI 10.1007/s00285-006-0043-9 Mathematical Biology Mathematical and theoretical biology for systems biology, and then...vice versa

By Hans V. Westerhoff and H. V. Westerhoff (b


Systems Biology has two roots (1). The better known resides in Molecular Biology, grew to functional genomics and then became top-down, genomewide Systems Biology. The less-publicized root resides in theoretical and Mathematical Biology, with topics such as non-equilibrium thermodynamics, self-organization, kinetic modelling, metabolic control analysis, flux analysis and biochemical systems theory, culminating in genome-wide versions thereof. It is anticipated that from these roots a Biology of unprecedented strength and quality will emerge, which ends the deadlocks of functional genomics drowning in its oceans of data and of Mathematical Biology escaping reality. Much of the growth in Systems Biology has bypassed Mathematical and Theoretical Biology. Only at the 2005 ESMTB meeting in Dresden did the surge in Systems Biology activity seen in molecular cell biology, begin to be mirrored by a similar surge in Mathematical Biology. Until then, the more theoretical activities in Systems Biology involved engineers much more than mathematicians. Why has this been the case? Systems Biology is well-defined and broad at the same time, not unlike Mathematical Biology. It is the science that studies how functional biological properties arise in the interactions of components (2

Year: 2006
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