Do Genetic Networks Obey Kirchhoff's and Ohm's Laws?

M. Xiong and J. Arnold (USA)


Genetic networks, circuit theory, Current law, mathematical mdels


Using biological networks to model biological systems is not a new approach1 , but biological networks have many unique features and pose a significant challenge because of their scale and unprecedented complexity. In this report, we develop a linear circuit theory as a general framework for genetic network analysis. We first introduce concepts of transcriptional potential, current, and resistance that can be used to quantify the operation of a genetic network. Kirchhoff’s Current Law and Ohm’s Law are fundamental to electrical circuits. Applications of linear circuit theory to genetic networks lead to similar laws in a genetic network. Due to lack of experimental methods for measuring resistance of a transcript, we develop computational algorithms to estimate transcriptional resistance based on a structural equation model for genetic networks. Finally, to illustrate the generalized circuit analysis of genetic networks, the proposed models and algorithms are applied to a part of an apoptosis network in humans.

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