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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2008 Aug;19(4):354-9. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2008.06.007. Epub 2008 Jul 19.

Standardizing experimental protocols.

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Division Systems Biology of Signal Transduction, German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Systems biology aims at understanding the behavior of biological networks by mathematical modeling based on experimental data. However, frequently experimental data is derived from poorly defined cellular systems, the procedures of data generation are insufficiently documented and data processing is arbitrary. For the advancement of systems biology, standardization at multiple levels is essential. Several systems biology consortia have started by focusing on standardization of cellular systems and experimental procedures. Minimum information standards for the description of data sets and common languages for the description of biological pathways as well as for mathematical modeling are being developed. Standardization is required to facilitate data exchange between different research groups and finally the assembly of large integrated models providing novel biological insights.

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