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J Biomol Tech. 2006 Sep;17(4):252-69.

Biological systems modeling and analysis: a biomolecular technique of the twenty-first century.

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  • 1The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, 313 Ferst Drive, Suite 4103, Atlanta, GA 30332-0535, USA.


It is proposed that computational systems biology should be considered a biomolecular technique of the twenty-first century, because it complements experimental biology and bioinformatics in unique ways that will eventually lead to insights and a depth of understanding not achievable without systems approaches. This article begins with a summary of traditional and novel modeling techniques. In the second part, it proposes concept map modeling as a useful link between experimental biology and biological systems modeling and analysis. Concept map modeling requires the collaboration between biologist and modeler. The biologist designs a regulated connectivity diagram of processes comprising a biological system and also provides semi-quantitative information on stimuli and measured or expected responses of the system. The modeler converts this information through methods of forward and inverse modeling into a mathematical construct that can be used for simulations and to generate and test new hypotheses. The biologist and the modeler collaboratively interpret the results and devise improved concept maps. The third part of the article describes software, BST-Box, supporting the various modeling activities.

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