What is Systems Biology

To understand complex biological systems requires the integration of experimental and computational research – in other words a systems biology approach. (Kitano, 2002)

Systems biology studies biological systems by systematically perturbing them (biologically, genetically, or chemically); monitoring the gene, protein, and informational pathway responses; integrating these data; and ultimately, formulating mathematical models that describe the structure of the system and its response to individual perturbations. (Ideker et al, 2001)

[…] the objective of systems biology [can be] defined as the understanding of network behavior, and in particular their dynamic aspects, which requires the utilization of mathematical modeling tightly linked to experiment. (Cassman, 2005)

By discovering how function arises in dynamic interactions, systems biology addresses the missing links between molecules and physiology. Top-down systems biology identifies molecular interaction networks on the basis of correlated molecular behavior observed in genome-wide “omics” studies. Bottom-up systems biology examines the mechanisms through which functional properties arise in the interactions of known components. (Bruggeman and Westerhoff, 2007)

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