History of quantitative impacts on biology, Biology

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Show History of Quantitative Impacts on Biology

Quantitative threads have been woven into the fabric of biology since at least the late 19th century, when Malthus warned of the dangers of explosive human population growth, and Mendel discovered the principle of genetic inheritance of peas in his monastic garden. More recent illustrations are much more explicitly mathematical or statistical. A short and far from complete list of important biological advances that depended on mathematics or statistics includes studies of the dynamics of molecular motors, the Hodgkin-Huxley model of neurons, the Smith-Waterman process for sequencing the genome, physiological fluid mechanics models that reveal the workings of the kidney, the heart, and swimming organisms, optimal foraging models that explain animal behavior in an evolutionary context, the breeder's equation in population genetics and evolutionary biology, the main role of chaos and the rise of complex dynamics in simple ecological systems, the threshold model in epidemiology, scaling laws in ecology and physiology, and statistical methodologies for experimental design.


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