DALLAS A new research centre is being established in Singapore that will focus on systems biology — a relatively new field that aims to study whole biological systems using contemporary biotechnology strategies including bioinformatics in combination with conventional biomedical research methods.

The development of the Singapore research centre, which is being funded by the Singapore Economic Development Board and the pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly & Co, illustrates the growing emphasis on systems biology. Work at the centre will use all levels of biological information from genes to mRNA and proteins to unravel the biological pathways and systems underlying physiological and disease mechanisms. Unlike traditional scientific approaches, which tend to focus on single genes or proteins, systems biology simultaneously studies the complex interactions of vast numbers of biological elements.

The rationale for using a systems biology approach is the hope that it can accelerate the rate of new drug discovery...

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