A key aim of postgenomic biomedical research is to systematically catalogue all molecules and their interactions within a living cell. There is a clear need to understand how these molecules and the interactions between them determine the function of this enormously complex machinery, both in isolation and when surrounded by other cells. Rapid advances in network biology indicate that cellular networks are governed by universal laws and offer a new conceptual framework that could potentially revolutionize our view of biology and disease pathologies in the twenty-first century.
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We thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments and M. Vidal for sharing unpublished work. This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy (to A.-L.B. and Z.N.O.) and the National Science Foundation (to A.-L.B.)