Formal Methods for Modeling Biological Regulatory Networks

  • Adrien Richard
  • Jean-Paul Comet
  • Gilles Bernot


This chapter presents how the formal methods can be used to analyse biological regulatory networks, which are at the core of all biological phenomena as, for example, cell differentiation or temperature control. The dynamics of such a system, i.e. its semantics, is often described by an ordinary differential equation system, but has also been abstracted into a discrete formalism due to R. Thomas. This second description is well adapted to stateof-the-art measurement techniques in biology, which often provide qualitative and coarse-grained descriptions of biological regulatory networks. This formalism permits us to design a formal framework for analysing the dynamics of biological systems. The verification tools, as model checking, can then be used not only to verify if the modelling is coherent with known biological properties, but also to help biologists in the modelling process. Actually, for a given biological regulatory network, a large class of semantics can be automatically built and model checking allows the selection of the semantics, which are coherent with the biological requirement, i.e. the temporal specification. This modelling process is illustrated with the well studied genetic regulatory network controlling immunity in bacteriophage lambda.


Model Check Formal Method Stable Steady State Atomic Proposition Kripke Structure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrien Richard
    • 1
  • Jean-Paul Comet
    • 1
  • Gilles Bernot
    • 1
  1. 1.CNRS & Université d’ÉvryFrance

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