I recently asked for nominations for the next target on my Wikipedia hit-list. I counted and then recounted, and the winner by just a single vote was the Systems Biology article .
It’s funny because there was only one reply.
Duncan Hull (@dullhunk) May 24, 2011
The take-home message from Wikipedia seems to be that systems biology is nothing more than a collection of (bad)omics. And to an extent that is true: whenever funding bodies take interest in a topic like systems biology, people rebrand their research as within that sphere, to feed on the cash cow. The result is something of a hotch-potch of disparate activities flying under one banner, with those missing out on the funding declaring the topic a fad.
My own view of what systems biology should be is neatly captured by  (though the article isn’t about the field in particular). There are over 20000 articles published each year on cancer, and over 200 genes thought to play a role in governing cancer development. Almost all of this knowledge is disconnected. And you can see why – the intuitive, verbal reasoning approaches favoured by oncologists can be a struggle with two interacting elements, let alone 200.
Systems biology can help in two ways: by providing a framework for storing all this data, and by providing the computational and mathematical tools needed to understand the dataset as a whole.
But my opinion is not relevant on Wikipedia, with all articles written from a neutral perspective . This can sometimes be hard when writing about topics you are immersed in. Check back next week to see how I get on with this one.
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