PerspectiveSystems Biology

Biological Systems Theory

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Science  30 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5978, pp. 581-582
DOI: 10.1126/science.1188974

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Mathematical models are fashionable in systems biology, but there is a world of difference between a model and a theorem. When researchers build models, they make assumptions about a specific experimental setting and have to choose values for rate constants and other parameters. A theorem, by contrast, can apply to a setting of arbitrary molecular complexity, such as a biochemical network with many components. In a recent study, Shinar and Feinberg (1) formulate a theorem that shows when such biochemical networks exhibit “absolute concentration robustness.”