Arnold Goodman's somewhat defeatist article on the future of central dogma1 suggests that the inherent difficulty of quantifying certain parameters means the only way to understand some biological processes is to replace facts and coherent argument by appealing to randomness.

But the appeal of formal thought cannot be denied. Yuri Lazebnik once wrote that "it is only a question of time before a user-friendly and flexible formal language will be taught to biology students, as it is taught to engineers, as a basic requirement for their future studies."2 This is exactly what we have developed here at Sheffield University: A simple formal descriptive language that is both a powerful conceptual tool and an accurate method for quantitatively describing the behavior of biological processes at any level.3 The description is unambiguous and can be implemented or tested by any programmer or mathematician if required. We have successfully applied...

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