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James Brody
October 15th, 2008, 02:56 PM
Life depends on clocks. Here is a generalized model of how they sometimes work.

JimB

"A genetic timer through noise-induced
stabilization of an unstable state
Marc Turcotte, Jordi Garcia-Ojalvo, and Gurol M. Suel (2008)

PNAS, October, 105(41) 15732-15737

"Stochastic fluctuations affect the dynamics of biological systems. Typically, such noise causes perturbations that can permit genetic circuits to escape stable states, triggering, for example, phenotypic switching. In contrast, studies have shown that noise can surprisingly also generate new states, which exist solely in the presence of fluctuations. In those instances noise is supplied externally to the dynamical system. Here, we present a mechanism in which noise intrinsic to a simple genetic circuit effectively stabilizes a deterministically unstable state. Furthermore, this noise-induced stabilization represents a unique mechanism for a genetic timer."

More at http://www.pnas.org/content/105/41/15732.full.pdf+html