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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2004 Oct;7(5):513-8.

Mathematical models in microbial systems biology.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Sandtorstr. 1, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany.


Systems biology aims at an understanding of the genotype-phenotype relations brought about by cellular networks. Mathematical models as formal representations are central for handling the associated complexity. Recently, model-based analysis of microorganisms has begun, for instance, to reveal functional modules in metabolic and transcriptional networks, to predict cellular behavior from genome-scale physicochemical constraints, and to suggest novel design principles for well-studied bacterial subsystems such as chemotaxis. Guided by common themes such as modularity, optimality and robustness, iterative model development promises further progress towards a system-level understanding.

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