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A greatly expanded and updated edition of the popular Introduction to the Mathematics of Biology (Yeargers, Shonkwiler and Herod, Birkh#user 1996), this textbook aims to present mathematical biology as not merely the intrusion of one science into another, but rather as a field with a unity of its own. It retains and expands on the concept of the "computer biology laboratory," giving students a general perspective of the field before proceeding to more specialized topics. The book is a product of extensive classroom experience, and the student response to it has been exhilarating due to its focus on problems of contemporary interest such as cancer, genetics and aging.
A unique feature of the book is its integration of a computer algebra system into the flow of ideas, in a supporting but unobtrusive role. Syntax for both the Maple and Matlab systems is provided in a side-by-side format. The use of a computer algebra system gives students the opportunity to examine "what if" scenarios, thereby allowing them to grasp important mathematical and biological concepts in a way not otherwise possible. For students without access to Maple or Matlab, each topic presented is complete. Graphic visualizations are provided for all mathematical results.
This book focuses on problems of contemporary interest. It includes new chapters on parasites, cancer, and phylogenetics, as well as an introduction to online resources for DNA and protein lookups and popular pattern matching tools such as BLAST. One major new topic presented is that of genomics, a rapidly growing field. Just as mathematics once became indispensable for the study of physics, with genomics mathematics has become indispensable for biology. The discussion of genomics in this book also presents the many subdisciplines it has given rise to, and it introduces the emerging field of algebraic statistics as a powerful tool in genomics.
Mathematical Biology includes extensive exercises, problems and examples to help students grasp the concepts fully. A year of calculus is required to understand the material presented, while no previous coursework in biology is necessary. The mathematics presented proceeds from the simple to the more complex, while the biology proceeds from the study of populations down to the molecular level.