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I saw the following passage in the NPR 13.7 Cosmos & Culture commentary post The Big Idea Behind Big Data.

Using the Internet's first generation of Big Data, researchers like physicist Albert-László Barabási of Northeastern discovered hubs controlling the behavior of all large networks from protein regulation to webpages.

"Nature evolved the metabolic network for cells over 4 billion years," says Barabasi, "but that same architecture emerged in the World Wide Web after just a decade."

Different networks, same laws.

In a complex multicellular organism there is plenty of signaling between cells types and organs, and this can be viewed as a network.

But does network theory also apply to protein regulation within a cell? I should really ask; Has network theory been successfully applied to protein expression within a cell?

I ask this because it seems according to this clickable timeline template that 4 billion years ago, life was single-celled.

edit: There is a single link in the Wikipedia article that points to this paper, but the abstract is over my head, and I'm not sure if this is a one-off attempt, or if network theory is an established method that has useful success in explaining/understanding/predicting protein expression within cells.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, the tools of network theory can be used to analyze protein regulation, etc., within a cell. Lots of work on this, so this isn't an answer, just a pointer in one direction. One approach is to look at protein-protein interactions, etc, and see whether certain "motifs" in the network are more likely to occur in biology than randomly. An intro to some related ideas: Uri Alon, Nature Reviews Genetics 2007: weizmann.ac.il/mcb/UriAlon/sites/mcb.UriAlon/files/… $\endgroup$ – AJK Nov 19 '17 at 1:39
  • $\begingroup$ @AJK OK that review is a great start! I'll give it a read, thanks. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 19 '17 at 2:33

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