Systems biology: the elements and principles of life

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Hans V Westerhoff
  • Catherine Winder
  • Hanan Messiha
  • Evangelos Simeonidis
  • Malgorzata Adamczyk
  • Malkhey Verma
  • Frank J Bruggeman

Colleges, School and Institutes


Systems Biology has a mission that puts it at odds with traditional paradigms of physics and molecular biology, such as the simplicity requested by Occam's razor and minimum energy/maximal efficiency. By referring to biochemical experiments on control and regulation, and on flux balancing in yeast, we show that these paradigms are inapt. Systems Biology does not quite converge with biology either: Although it certainly requires accurate 'stamp collecting', it discovers quantitative laws. Systems Biology is a science of its own, discovering own fundamental principles, some of which we identify here.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3882-90
Number of pages9
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2009