On the Power of Uncertainties in Microbial System Modeling: No Need To Hide Them Anymore

Benoit Delahaye, Damien Eveillard, Nicholas Bouskill, Nicholas Chia
2017 mSystems  
For decades, microbiologists have considered uncertainties as an undesired side effect of experimental protocols. As a consequence, standard microbial system modeling strives to hide uncertainties for the sake of deterministic understanding. However, recent studies have highlighted greater experimental variability than expected and emphasized uncertainties not as a weakness but as a necessary feature of complex microbial systems. We therefore advocate that biological uncertainties need to be
more » ... sidered foundational facets that must be incorporated in models. Not only will understanding these uncertainties improve our understanding and identification of microbial traits, it will also provide fundamental insights on microbial systems as a whole. Taking into account uncertainties within microbial models calls for new validation techniques. Formal verification already overcomes this shortcoming by proposing modeling frameworks and validation techniques dedicated to probabilistic models. However, further work remains to extract the full potential of such techniques in the context of microbial models. Herein, we demonstrate how statistical model checking can enhance the development of microbial models by building confidence in the estimation of critical parameters and through improved sensitivity analyses.
doi:10.1128/msystems.00169-17 pmid:29238753 pmcid:PMC5715109 fatcat:zft7wqz6c5h4phcgvzf6xo6ete