Virtual Tools for Biology Coming Soon

Systems analysis creates new ways to study the body
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2007 5:00 PM CDT
Systems biology could have a great impact on the future of medicine. (AP Photo/ Courtesy of Dr. Perry J. Pickhardt/ University of Wisconsin Medical School)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Systems biology—an approach which involves reducing biological systems to their basic components and running sophisticated computer models of them—is poised to take off, reports The Economist. With virtual biological systems running on powerful computers, doctors and pharmaceutical manufacturers could speed the testing of drugs and avoid potentially dangerous reactions in patients.

The holy grail of systems biology would be to build an entire virtual human body inside a computer. The European Science Foundation is trying to move closer to that goal by constructing a general-purpose virtual cell model that can be modified to all 220 or more types of cells that operate in the human body.