Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have constructed the first complete computer model of human metabolism. Available free on the Web, the model is a major step forward in the fledging field of systems biology, and it will help researchers uncover new drug pathways and understand the molecular basis of cancer and other diseases.
Metabolism is the sum of all chemical reactions involved in breaking down the nutrients in food into energy and using them as the raw materials for making everything the body needs, from hormones like insulin to the lipids that make up cell membranes. The computer model of metabolism, constructed by researchers in the lab of Bernhard Palsson, professor of bioengineering, connects all such known chemical reactions in the body to every human gene.
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