Smallest self replicating organism

Rich Cooper richcooper1 at mindspring.com
Thu Sep 6 09:04:30 EST 2001


Des Higgins wrote:
> A real software model of any organism would be enormously useful and
> everyone would use it.  The problem tends to be that it is extremely
> difficult to simulate even a small part of what really happens inside a
> cell.   We are no where near being able to make even a crude model of M.g.
>
> Des Higgins

When I look at M..g. databases such as
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/Entrez/altik?gi=26&db=G
It appears that there is a lot of genome knowledge available.  Of course,
the protein functions aren't so well developed yet, but sites like
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/COG/palox?fun=all
indicate that progress is being made on protein functions.

But very few pathways are known, 52 if I interpret the data correctly.

The systems biology work going on now has resulted in a preliminary
spec for systems biology modeling language (SBML) that looks like
a very feasible way to represent biochemical reactions, and to make
the models available to anyone researching a similar topic.  So if those
52 pathways were written as reaction models in SBML, simulation
software could read the SBML and peform the simulation, letting
people modify the model to fit their research interests.

Of those 52 that are known, a simulation could be built in principle, but
would that small slice of the organism be useful in itself?  That is,
who would use it, and how much value would they get out of it.  Would
the benefit outweigh the cost of developing such a model and a
simulation engine?

-Rich Cooper







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