If an ordinary picture is worth 1,000 words, then this one is worth about 10,000. It makes visible the thousands of known molecular and genetic interactions happening inside our bodies. After gathering all this information from the BioGrid database, researchers used a computer program called Cytoscape to integrate it into a single image. Technically, images like this are known as network wiring diagrams, but Cytoscape creator Trey Ideker somewhat jokingly calls them "hairballs" because they can be so complicated, intricate and hard to tease apart. Fortunately, Cytoscape comes with tools to help scientists study specific interactions, such as differences between species or between sick and diseased cells. Courtesy of Keiichiro Ono, University of California, San Diego.
Featured in the June 16, 2010, issue of Biomedical Beat.