CHAPTER 37

UNTANGLING BIOLOGICAL NETWORKS USING BIOINFORMATICS

Gaurav Kumar, Adrian P. Cootes, and Shoba Ranganathan

37.1 INTRODUCTION

37.1.1 Predicting Biological Processes: A Major Challenge to Understanding Biology

Cells are the building blocks of life in an organism. Each cell holds genes containing the information about constituent cellular processes. This genetic information is carried out by thousands of different proteins. Proteins are the nanomachines or tools of the cell that rarely work in isolation. They interact and constantly communicate with each other. The advent of genome sequencing projects has made available nearly a complete list of genetic information from the different kingdoms of life. However, this information does not give any direct insight into how the molecular components within the cell interact, resulting in the complexity of life forms. To understand cellular complexity, one has to map the molecular interactions occurring within the cell. Interaction maps provide guides on how different cellular entities like proteins, metabolites, and genes are linked together via direct physical or functional associations, to create the complex web of life.

The advent of high-throughput screening techniques has allowed the large-scale identification of components such as genes, RNAs, proteins, and metabolites. Although the data from such large-scale experimental studies are often incomplete and contain errors, they nonetheless provide valuable information about ...

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