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Our Love/Hate Relationship with Systems Biology

Derek Lowe has a post at In the Pipeline on systems biology, which he defines in broad strokes as "trying to model the interactions of whole biological systems, in an attempt to come up with come explanatory power." Lowe says the sheer complexity of biological systems means that scientists are likely to be constrained by available technology, compute power, and other hindrances. "My first test for listening to systems biology people is whether they approach things with the proper humility," he writes. But he adds that the potential payoff of this approach is significant, and that it needs to be pursued. "So press on, systems people, and good luck," he concludes.

 

The Scan

Team Tracks Down Potential Blood Plasma Markers Linked to Heart Failure in Atrial Fibrillation Patients

Researchers in BMC Genomics found 10 differentially expressed proteins or metabolites that marked atrial fibrillation with heart failure cases.

Study Points to Synonymous Mutation Effects on E. Coli Enzyme Activity

Researchers in Nature Chemistry saw signs of enzyme activity shifts in the presence of synonymous mutations in a multiscale modeling analysis of three Escherichia coli genes.

Team Outlines Paternal Sample-Free Single-Gene Approach for Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening

With data for nearly 9,200 pregnant individuals, researchers in Genetics in Medicine demonstrate the feasibility of their carrier screening and reflex single-gene non-invasive prenatal screening approach.

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.