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Simulation of prokaryotic genetic circuits.

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Department of Developmental Biology, Beckman Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305, USA.


Biochemical and genetic approaches have identified the molecular mechanisms of many genetic reactions, particularly in bacteria. Now a comparably detailed understanding is needed of how groupings of genes and related protein reactions interact to orchestrate cellular functions over the cell cycle, to implement preprogrammed cellular development, or to dynamically change a cell's processes and structures in response to environmental signals. Simulations using realistic, molecular-level models of genetic mechanisms and of signal transduction networks are needed to analyze dynamic behavior of multigene systems, to predict behavior of mutant circuits, and to identify the design principles applicable to design of genetic regulatory circuits. When the underlying design rules for regulatory circuits are understood, it will be far easier to recognize common circuit motifs, to identify functions of individual proteins in regulation, and to redesign circuits for altered functions.

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