I have relatively good knowledge in evolutionary biology and in population genetics. I am getting more and more interested in the evolution of ...

  • genetic developmental processes
  • gene interactions
  • gene expression
  • plasticity
  • intrinsic or cellular noise
  • mutational robustness

It seems that i am getting increasingly interested in a field that is in between population genetics and system biology. I know very little about system biology.

Can you please give me some recommendations for books (and other readings such as reviews) that talk about the evolution of those processes that are usually studied by system biologists? I am much more interested in a book that presents concepts and methods than a book listing empirical observations. Also, I am not interested in medicine but in biology.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Systems Biology seems so new that I would expect that most books on that topic would probably be collections of articles from symposia. Given your detailed list the first author that springs to mind is Stuart A. Kaufmann (there might be another 'f' in his name). I recently saw someone here cite his 1993 book 'On the Origins of Order' he is a real theoretical biologist, like Francis Crick. He was affiliated with bothe the Penn Medical School and the Santa Fe Institute think tank. $\endgroup$
    – mdperry
    Jun 25, 2015 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ I am afraid there is no single book that will cover these topics. The Introduction to Systems Biology by Uri Alon does not talk much about evolution of gene networks; it is mostly about network motifs and their dynamic behaviour. You can have a look at Barabasi's works for evolution of gene regulatory networks (This book-chapter is not really about GRN but may be useful as it talks about fitness of network nodes). $\endgroup$
    Jun 26, 2015 at 4:08
  • $\begingroup$ @mdperry I cited that book recently. (There is an extra 'f' and one less 'n' ;P ). It is good, though I haven't proceeded beyond fist few chapters. $\endgroup$
    Jun 26, 2015 at 4:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I haven't read it, but this book looks interesting to me: Evolutionary Systems Biology $\endgroup$
    – falsum
    Jun 26, 2015 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ @falsum yes it looks like a very good fit and it is very recent. The book is expensive though but I just discovered I have access to an online version through my University. Quite convenient. Thnks $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jun 26, 2015 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


Here there are a couple that I own:

The "classic" from Uri Alon touches many of the topics you mention. It is easy to read and goes relatively deep into the methods. There seems to be a new edition (if you search it in Amazon it will pop up), but it was planned for last year's April and then delayed so no so clear when will be actually published. For the original one: Amazon link

Title: An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits
Year: 2006
Author: Uri Alon
Publisher: Chapman & Hall/CRC Mathematical and Computational Biology

The other book is this textbook "Systems biology" by Edda Klipp and others. I attended a talk by Edda Klipp two years ago and she seems to be doing interesting things. This book is more general, covering, somewhat superficially, many topics. It can be good to get a general idea on the field. Amazon link.

Title: Systems Biology Paperback
Year: 2009
Author: Edda Klipp, Wolfram Liebermeister, Christoph Wierling, Axel Kowald, Hans Lehrach, Ralf Herwig
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

There are many others (see Amazon results here). Maybe other members can comment on some of the other titles.

  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like Alon's book would be a good fit. Thnks for this great recommendation. +1 I'll wait to see if I get other opinion and then I'll probably go for Alon's book. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jun 26, 2015 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, wait for other opinion. There are many books and not sure I got the best ones! I would also like to know about other good books. $\endgroup$
    – ddiez
    Jun 26, 2015 at 23:28

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