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Artificial Life

Winter 2009, Vol. 15, No. 1, Pages 115-129
(doi: 10.1162/artl.2009.15.1.15108)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Modeling Biochemical Pathways Using an Artificial Chemistry
Article PDF (209.68 KB)

Artificial chemistries are candidates for methodologies that model and design biochemical systems. If artificial chemistries can deal with such systems in beneficial ways, they may facilitate activities in the new area of biomolecular engineering. In order to explore such possibilities, we illustrate four models of biochemical pathways described in our artificial chemistry based on string pattern matching and recombination. The modeled pathways are the replication of DNA, transcription from DNA to mRNA, translation from mRNA to protein, and the oxidation of fatty acids. The descriptions show that the present approach has good modularity and scalability that will be useful for modeling a huge network of pathways. Moreover, we give a procedure to perform reasoning in the artificial chemistry, which checks whether a specified collection of molecules can be generated in a given model, and we demonstrate that it works on a model that describes a natural biochemical pathway.