From data to understanding
May 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
Angela DePace pointed out this excellent recent article by Arthur Lander on how and why models are useful in biology (Lander, A. (2010) The edges of understanding. BMC Biol. 8 40). Here’s a teaser:
“In molecular biology, explaining the existence of a phenotype or disease by ‘finding the gene(s) for it’ is a plausible goal; in systems biology it is just a starting point for investigation. Curiously, this distinction is often misconstrued. Among scientists, as well as the public, systems biology is frequently identified with the exploitation of high-throughput methods to gather vast amounts of data about genomes, epigenomes, transcriptomes, proteomes, metabolomes, phenomes, and the like. Sophisticated as such methodologies have become, they primarily support the tasks that molecular biologists have always faced – discovering nodes and edges. If this were all there was to systems biology, it would be hard to justify treating it as anything more than an accelerated program of molecular biology.
But there is certainly more.”
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