Reductionism and complexity in molecular biology. Scientists now have the tools to unravel biological and overcome the limitations of reductionism.

Ecole Supérieure de Biotechnologie de Strasbourg at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Strasbourg, France.
EMBO Reports (Impact Factor: 7.86). 12/2004; 5(11):1016-20. DOI: 10.1038/sj.embor.7400284
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The review examines the new approaches in modern systems biology, in terms of their use for a deeper understanding of the physiological adaptation of a healthy human in extreme environments. Human physiology under extreme conditions of life, or environmental physiology, and systems biology are natural partners. The similarities and differences between the object and methods in systems biology, the OMICs (proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics) disciplines, and other related sciences have been studied. The latest data on environmental human physiology obtained using systems biology methods are discussed. The independent achievements of systems biology in studying the adaptation of a healthy human to physical activity, including human presence at high altitude, to the effects of hypoxia and oxidative stress have been noted. A reasonable conclusion is drawn that the application of the methods and approaches used in systems biology to study the molecular pattern of the adaptive mechanisms that develop in the human body during space flight can provide valuable fundamental knowledge and fill the picture of human metabolic pathways.
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    ABSTRACT: The importance of paradigms for guiding scientific research is explained with reference to the seminal work of Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn. A prevalent paradigm, followed for more than a decade in HIV-1 vaccine research, which gave rise to the strategy known as structure-based reverse vaccinology is described in detail. Several reasons why this paradigm did not allow the development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine are analyzed. A major reason is the belief shared by many vaccinologists that antibodies possess a narrow specificity for a single epitope and are not polyspecific for a diverse group of potential epitopes. When this belief is abandoned, it becomes obvious that the one particular epitope structure observed during the crystallographic analysis of a neutralizing antibody-antigen complex does not necessarily reveal, which immunogenic structure should be used to elicit the same type of neutralizing antibody. In the physical sciences, scientific explanations are usually presented as logical deductions derived from a relevant law of nature together with certain initial conditions. In immunology, causal explanations in terms of a single cause acting according to a law of nature are not possible because numerous factors always play a role in bringing about an effect. The implications of this state of affairs for the rational design of HIV vaccines are outlined. An alternative approach to obtain useful scientific understanding consists in intervening empirically in the immune system and it is suggested that manipulating the system experimentally is needed to learn to control it and achieve protective immunity by vaccination.
    Frontiers in Immunology 11/2014; 5:593. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2014.00593
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