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Bioessays. 2002 Dec;24(12):1118-29.

Modeling transcriptional regulatory networks.

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Institute for Systems Biology, USA and Science & Technology Research Centre, University of Hertfordshire, UK.


Developmental processes in complex animals are directed by a hardwired genomic regulatory code, the ultimate function of which is to set up a progression of transcriptional regulatory states in space and time. The code specifies the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that underlie all major developmental events. Models of GRNs are required for analysis, for experimental manipulation and, most fundamentally, for comprehension of how GRNs work. To model GRNs requires knowledge of both their overall structure, which depends upon linkage amongst regulatory genes, and the modular building blocks of which GRNs are heirarchically constructed. The building blocks consist of basic transcriptional control processes executed by one or a few functionally linked genes. We show how the functions of several such building blocks can be considered in mathematical terms, and discuss resolution of GRNs by both "top down" and "bottom up" approaches.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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