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Science 297 (5584): 1129-1131

Copyright © 2002 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Small Numbers of Big Molecules

Nina Fedoroff and Walter Fontana

Is the regulation of gene expression in a cell a random (stochastic) process? In an ambitious Perspective, Fedoroff and Fontana explore a new study (Elowitz et al.) that provides experimental evidence for stochasticity in bacterial gene expression. They reflect on the importance of stochastic processes for the evolution and adaptation of organisms.

N. Fedoroff is at Penn State University, University Park, PA 16803, USA. E-mail: nvf1{at} W. Fontana is at Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA. E-mail: walter{at}

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