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Ten questions about systems biology

Joyner, Michael J; Pedersen, Bente K
Fonte: Blackwell Science Inc Publicador: Blackwell Science Inc
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
EN
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In this paper we raise ‘ten questions’ broadly related to ‘omics’, the term systems biology, and why the new biology has failed to deliver major therapeutic advances for many common diseases, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We argue that a fundamentally narrow and reductionist perspective about the contribution of genes and genetic variants to disease is a key reason ‘omics’ has failed to deliver the anticipated breakthroughs. We then point out the critical utility of key concepts from physiology like homeostasis, regulated systems and redundancy as major intellectual tools to understand how whole animals adapt to the real world. We argue that a lack of fluency in these concepts is a major stumbling block for what has been narrowly defined as ‘systems biology’ by some of its leading advocates. We also point out that it is a failure of regulation at multiple levels that causes many common diseases. Finally, we attempt to integrate our critique of reductionism into a broader social framework about so-called translational research in specific and the root causes of common diseases in general. Throughout we offer ideas and suggestions that might be incorporated into the current biomedical environment to advance the understanding of disease through the perspective of physiology in conjunction with epidemiology as opposed to bottom-up reductionism alone.

‘Integrative Physiology 2.0’: integration of systems biology into physiology and its application to cardiovascular homeostasis

Kuster, Diederik W D; Merkus, Daphne; van der Velden, Jolanda; Verhoeven, Adrie J M; Duncker, Dirk J
Fonte: Blackwell Science Inc Publicador: Blackwell Science Inc
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
EN
Relevância na Pesquisa
661.1089%
Since the completion of the Human Genome Project and the advent of the large scaled unbiased ‘-omics’ techniques, the field of systems biology has emerged. Systems biology aims to move away from the traditional reductionist molecular approach, which focused on understanding the role of single genes or proteins, towards a more holistic approach by studying networks and interactions between individual components of networks. From a conceptual standpoint, systems biology elicits a ‘back to the future’ experience for any integrative physiologist. However, many of the new techniques and modalities employed by systems biologists yield tremendous potential for integrative physiologists to expand their tool arsenal to (quantitatively) study complex biological processes, such as cardiac remodelling and heart failure, in a truly holistic fashion. We therefore advocate that systems biology should not become/stay a separate discipline with ‘-omics’ as its playing field, but should be integrated into physiology to create ‘Integrative Physiology 2.0’.