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Additional resources for Nature (Vol. 435, No. 7042, 2 June 2005)

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The concept has already revolutionized some aspects of biology, but it has the potential for much wider application. Of course, optimization has long been employed effectively in subjects other than biology. Economists have Revealed: optimal-design theory can be used to assess how selective forces have shaped teeth. traditionally calculated the options that result in the greatest profit, and engi- optimal. Actually, it is the assumptions of tools. Further calculations give the predicneers routinely calculate the best design optimality that are tested.

6. Adolphs, R. & Damasio, A. R. Nature 393, 470–474 (1998). 7. Doyle, T. F. et al. Am. J. Med. Genet. 124A, 263–273 (2004). 572 NATURE|Vol 435|2 June 2005 COSMOLOGY Digitizing the Universe Nickolay Y. Gnedin For years, cosmologists have been racing each other to develop ever more sophisticated and realistic models of the evolution of the Universe. The competition has just become considerably stiffer. Since the first ‘analogue’ simulation by Erik Holmberg1, who used the inverse-square law of light to mimic gravity, numerical cosmology has made remarkable progress: abstract particles and digital supercomputers have now replaced light bulbs and photometers as tools for measuring gravitational forces.

Just as bad, he seems not to recognize that when he and other anaesthetists measure muscular contractions in curarized patients or volunteers, this is an exceedingly indirect (and ©2005 Nature Publishing Group potentially fallacious) means of judging how much acetylcholine — the relevant transmitter — has been released from the nerve. It is also a poor guide of the sensitivity to it of the crucial receptor molecules in the target muscle. The essential problem with this analysis is that the transmission has an enormous ‘safety factor’: far more molecules of acetylcholine are released than the minimum required to generate the electrical signal that will, in turn, trigger the muscle contraction.

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