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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2001 Dec;12(6):638-44.

Synthetic cell biology.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Departments of Bioengineering and Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Synthesis of data into formal models of cellular function is rapidly becoming a necessary industry. The complexity of the interactions among cellular constituents and the quantity of data about these interactions hinders the ability to predict how cells will respond to perturbation and how they can be engineered for industrial or medical purposes. Models provide a systematic framework to describe and analyze these complex systems. In the past few years, models have begun to have an impact on mainstream biology by creating deeper insight into the design rules of cellular signal processing, providing a basis for rational engineering of cells, and for resolving debates about the root causes of certain cellular behaviors. This review covers some of the recent work and challenges in developing these "synthetic cell" models and their growing practical applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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