The cell cycle is the sequence of events by which a growing cell duplicates
all its components and partitions them more-or-less evenly between two
daughter cells. The cell cycle is fundamental to all processes of biological
growth, development and reproduction, and hence plays a central role in such
important processes as carcinogenesis, wound healing, and tissue engineering.
Molecular biologists have discovered a host of genes and proteins involved in
controlling DNA synthesis and nuclear division. The molecular control
mechanism is so complex that its behavior cannot be understood by casual,
hand waving arguments. By translating this mechanism into differential
equations, we can analyze and simulate the behavior of the control system,
comparing model predictions to the observed properties of cells. Theoretical
models also provide new ways to look at the dynamics of cell cycle regulation.
This approach is generally applicable to any complex gene-protein network
that regulates some behavior of a living cell.