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COMPUTATIONAL MODELING OF BIOLOGICAL PATHWAYS BY EXECUTABLE BIOLOGY

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMETHODS IN ENZYMOLOGY, VOL 487: COMPUTER METHODS, PT C
Place of PublicationSAN DIEGO
PublisherELSEVIER ACADEMIC PRESS INC
Pages217-251
Number of pages35
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Abstract

"In silico" experiments (i.e., computer simulation) constitute an aid to traditional biological research, by allowing biologists to execute efficient simulations taking into consideration the data obtained in wet experiments and to generate new hypotheses, which can be later verified in additional wet experiments. In addition to being much cheaper and faster than wet experiments, computer simulation has other advantages: it allows us to run experiments in which several species can be monitored at the same time, to explore quickly various conditions by varying species and parameters in different runs, and in some cases to observe the behavior of the system at a greater level of detail than the one permitted by experimental techniques.

In the past few years there has been a considerable effort in the computer science community to develop computational languages and software tools for modeling and analysing biochemical systems. Among the challenges which must be addressed in this context, there are: the definition of languages powerful enough to express all the relevant features of biochemical systems, the development of efficient algorithms to analyze models and interpret the results, and the implementation of modeling platforms which are usable by nonprogrammers.

In this chapter, we focus on the use of computational modeling to the analysis of biochemical systems. Computational modeling, in conjunction with the use of formal intuitive modeling languages, enables biologists to define models using a notation very similar to the informal descriptions they commonly use, but formal and, hence, automatically executable. We describe the main features of the existing textual computational languages and the tool support available for model development and analysis.

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