AA1 – Mechanisms of Life



Beyond Attractors: Understanding the Transient and Modular Behaviour of Boolean Networks

Project Heads

Elisa Tonello

Project Members

Elisa Tonello

Project Duration

01.01.2023 − 31.12.2024

Located at

FU Berlin


Boolean networks are used extensively to model biological processes. The associated dynamics are usually defined as directed graphs with the assumption of asynchronicity of updates. Analyses of Boolean dynamics are often restricted to the asymptotic behaviour, and say very little about transient behaviour or modularity of attractors.

We propose to expand the analysis of Boolean dynamics by applying techniques of complex network theory to extend our understanding of transient behaviour and of the structure of cyclic attractors. The identification and interpretation of modules in Boolean models can provide a significant contribution in the understanding of biological processes involved for instance in differentiation or phenotype acquisition, with potential application in the control of cellular and spatial decision-making.

External Website

Related Publications

Richard, A. and Tonello, E., 2023. Attractor separation and signed cycles in asynchronous Boolean networks. Theoretical Computer Science, p.113706.

Naldi, A., Richard, A. and Tonello, E., 2023. Linear cuts in Boolean networks. Natural Computing, pp.1-21.

Tonello, E. and Paulevé, L., 2023. Attractor identification in asynchronous Boolean dynamics with network reduction. In 21st International Conference on Computational Methods in Systems Biology (CMSB 2023).

Schwieger, R. and Tonello, E., 2023. Reduction for asynchronous Boolean networks: elimination of negatively autoregulated components. arXiv preprint arXiv:2302.03108.

Related Pictures