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Discusses the concept, and proposes a list, of basic biological functions to aid biologists (as contrasted with mathematicians and chemists) in building models by means of RAND's BIOMOD interactive graphics computer system. These "biological primitives" are characterized as having unambiguous definitions and the capacity to be parameterized clearly and directly. Among the primitives identified are diffusion, equa-osmolarity, pressure gradient, compartment, binding and metabolism (as of a drug), and phosphate, bicarbonate, or protein buffer. The intention is to furnish the biologist modeler with building blocks that are uniquely meaningful to him and that do not require detailed knowledge of their underlying mathematics or chemistry to be used.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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