Dramatic progress has been made recently in determining the genetic and molecular composition of cells. This has prompted the development of new approaches to the challenge of understanding how basic cellular mechanisms are coordinated to produce the dazzling complexity of living systems. To face this challenge fully, it is critical not only to know what genes and proteins are expressed in cells, but also to understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of their networks of interactions. The sheer scale and complexity of cellular interaction networks necessitates a multi-disciplinary effort in which sophisticated experimental techniques are employed in combination with computational analysis and mathematical modelling. Such approaches are beginning to provide insight into basic structures and mechanisms, and promise to become critical to the post-genomic mission of understanding the cell as a complex dynamical system.

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