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{bio,medical} informatics

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

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find related articles. powered by google. BBC News Life's not so complicated web

"It is easy to claim that everything is connected to everything else, but a hard proposition to test scientifically.

Now research by ecologists studying food webs has shown this may after all be the case."

"Two studies published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) combine network analysis with real-world ecological data to search for patterns in food webs: the chain of who eats whom in a complex biological system."

find related articles. powered by google. New Scientist The weakest link

"Using the niche model you can build virtual versions of real food webs and then see what happens when you simulate speciation or extinctions. "We can play games in the computer and see if species at the bottom of the food web are more important to maintaining diversity than those at the top. We can play similar games comparing specialists and generalists," says Martinez."

"Martinez's approach has been well received. "He has made a huge effort in exploring the regularities displayed by ecological interactions," says Ricard Sole from the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. "His model with Williams will be a classic reference in ecology." This could be the leap that ecology has been waiting for. But in some ways, Martinez's thinking is quite conservative because he has natural selection as the driving force behind ecological patterns. Other students of biocomplexity are much more radical. They talk about food webs in the language of the physical sciences, explaining the complexities of nature in terms of "emergent properties" rather than biological principles."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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