Exploring Networks at the genome scale

M.C. Lam, J. Puchalka, M.S. Diez, V.A.P. Martins Dos Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Systems biology is aimed at achieving a holistic understanding of living organisms, while synthetic biology seeks to design and construct new living organisms with targeted functionalities. Genome sequencing and the fields of ‘omics’ technology have proven a goldmine of information for scientists when it comes to investigating the entire functionality of organisms. Because the genome encodes for all the machinery an organism possesses to survive in the different environments it might populate, it’s possible to understand an organism’s survival strategies by studying its genetic code. More than 350 bacterial genomes have been sequenced to date. But even though bacteria are relatively simple, every organism is so complex that it’s necessary to apply modeling to integrate knowledge at all levels – whether it involves metabolism, signaling processes, transcription regulation, or a host of other areas. Backed up by the accumulated knowledge of biological systems gathered over the last two decades, it is gradually becoming feasible to predict changes and artificially introduce desirable properties into new, genetically modified organisms. In this article, we focus on genome-scale transcription and metabolic network studies as well as the role of modelling, which assists micro-organism engineering and provides a platform for generating hypotheses and testing new proposals. Knowledge and predictions gained from systems biology are also paving the way for the rational design of subunits or the entire genome in organisms, to produce novel functions in line with the new paradigm proposed by synthetic biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-42
JournalEuropean Biotechnology Science and Industry News
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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