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Living with noisy genes: how cells function reliably with inherent variability in gene expression.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Within a population of genetically identical cells there can be significant variation, or noise, in gene expression. Yet even with this inherent variability, cells function reliably. This review focuses on our understanding of noise at the level of both single genes and genetic regulatory networks, emphasizing comparisons between theoretical models and experimental results whenever possible. To highlight the importance of noise, we particularly emphasize examples in which a stochastic description of gene expression leads to a qualitatively different outcome than a deterministic one.

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