[BiO BB] Bionformatics and System Biology

Ana Sofia Figueiredo sofia at substancia.com
Wed Sep 22 13:47:35 EDT 2004


As there is no consensus definition for Systems Biology nor for
Bioinformatics, pointing out the differences and similarities amongst them
is not straight forward.

In my opinion, Systems Biology aims at understanding a biological system
(for instace, a cell) as a whole. Instead of looking at the individual
elements that constitute a cell, it studies how genes and proteins interact;
how fluxes distribute in a metabolic pathway (and why); how does the system
reacts to external perturbations, and tries to identify the mechanisms
underlying the different phenomena. Then, this information will be used to
construct mathematical models.

The application of systems theory to biolgy is not new. Authors such as
Bertalanffy, Robert Rosen, Savageau have described mathematically biological
phenomena, based on engineering principles.
Systems biology from those days differs from todays due to the huges amounts
of information generated by disciplines as genomics, proteomics and
metabolomics. This boom of information is generated by bioinformatics tools.
Bioinformatics is the field of intersection between biology and computer
sciences. It uses the power of computer sciences to store, analyse,
integrate and visualise biological data, in order to answer biologists

These papers give a global perspective of systems biology:

1. Kitano H,Computational System Biology Nature (2002) 420; 206-210.
2. Kitano H, Systems Biology: A Brief Overview Science (2002) 295;
3. Wolkenhauer O, Systems Biology: The reincarnation of systems theory
applied to Biology? Briefings in Bioinformatics (2001) Vol. 2 No. 3 258-270.

I hope this helps!

On Wednesday 22 September 2004 11:54, jareyes at utalca.cl wrote:
> Hi, I am looking for information about the differences and similarities
> between Bioinformatics and System Biology.
> Do you know were can I found some papers, documents or other sources of
> information about this?
> Thanks in advanced for yours comments.
> José Antonio
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