This paper addresses the problem of simplifying chemical reaction networks by adroitly reducing the number of reaction channels and chemical species. The analysis adopts a discrete-stochastic point of view and focuses on the model reaction set S1⇌S2→S3, whose simplicity allows all the mathematics to be done exactly. The advantages and disadvantages of replacing this reaction set with a single S3-producing reaction are analyzed quantitatively using novel criteria for measuring simulation accuracy and simulation efficiency. It is shown that in all cases in which such a model reduction can be accomplished accurately and with a significant gain in simulation efficiency, a procedure called the slow-scale stochastic simulation algorithm provides a robust and theoretically transparent way of implementing the reduction
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