Molecular eco-systems biology: towards an understanding of community function

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2008 Sep;6(9):693-9. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1935.


Systems-biology approaches, which are driven by genome sequencing and high-throughput functional genomics data, are revolutionizing single-cell-organism biology. With the advent of various high-throughput techniques that aim to characterize complete microbial ecosystems (metagenomics, meta-transcriptomics and meta-metabolomics), we propose that the time is ripe to consider molecular systems biology at the ecosystem level (eco-systems biology). Here, we discuss the necessary data types that are required to unite molecular microbiology and ecology to develop an understanding of community function and discuss the potential shortcomings of these approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Ecosystem*
  • Genomics / methods
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Microbiology / trends*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Systems Biology / methods
  • Systems Biology / trends*