Cellular biology exists embedded in a world dominated by random dynamics and chance. Many vital molecules and pieces of cellular machinery diffuse within cells, moving along random trajectories as they collide with the other biomolecular inhabitants of the cell. Cellular components may block each other's progress, be produced or degraded at random times, and become unevenly separated as cells grow and divide. Cellular behaviour, including important features of stem cells, tumours and infectious bacteria, is profoundly influenced by the chaos which is the environment within the cell walls. Here we will look at some important causes and effects of randomness in cellular biology, and some ways in which researchers, helped by the vast amounts of data that are now flowing in, have made progress in describing the randomness of nature.
Bibliographical note5 pages, 4 figures