just submitted a grant proposal with the following paragraph:

In this complex network view, most proteins in a cell are only separated from each other by only a few interactions. If many of these proteins contributed to a biological decision equally, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to understand how and why a certain extracellular signal results in a particular cellular decision. If everything is important, how can we simplify? Would our goal as researchers then be to draw a map where one mile is equivalent to one mile? Even though this is impossible, and the map will never be the territory, the genomics project is tantalizing in its increasingly complete and complex picture of the cell. Yet, fiction has already imagined the consequences of such maps and warns us that we may well be disappointed. One of Carroll’s characters concluded “we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well”, while Borges’ cartographers eventually also perceived their efforts useless, gave up, and watched their massive map fall into disarray.

AuthorJan Skotheim