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In the decade since the completion of the Human Genome Project, biologists have increasingly described the relationships between biological objects (genes, proteins, small molecules, phenotypes) in terms of networks. This essay argues that a “networked” understanding of biology has become one of the defining features of postgenomics. Network science emerged in the 1990s in response to the proliferation of computer networks and especially the World Wide Web. Applied to biology, network science enables particular kinds of reasoning and particular understandings of biological objects. Networks draw into view the interconnections and interactions between biological parts, and especially parts of genomes. They have made accounts based on the structure or wiring of sets of biological parts possible and powerful. The representation and reduction of biological parts to nodes and edges in networks also enables new kinds of holist account of biology.

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