Economic Principles in Cell Biology          

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Economic Principles in Cell Biology
A free textbook

How can a cell maintain itself as a living being? Living cells, shaped by billions of years of evolution, have developed many ways to adapt to their environment, for example by regulation of gene expression. But the rules of physics and chemistry enforce certain boundaries on what cells can achieve and how they can allocate their own resources. Shaped by evolution, cells are able to "do certain things right", and our goal is to uncover some of the principles behind this.

In our free and open textbook, to which anyone can contribute, we give an overview of established approaches to cellular economics, from descriptions of simple metabolic systems to cell growth, variability, and dynamic behaviour.

For more information about our project, please see our website for authors.

To join us in writing this textbook, please get in touch!

April 2024 edition

We release updated versions of the book every 3 months. Below you can find the current version. Please note that our book is still work in progress. The book and all chapters (in a preprint version) are also available on zenodo.

  1. Read the book in your browser (opening the pdf may take a while)
  2. Download the book (pdf)
  3. Download single book chapters (pdf)
  4. Download an A4 print version (pdf)
  5. Download an A5 version (pdf) for E-Book readers
  6. Download the book from zenodo (pdf)

To cite this book: Economic Principles in Cell Biology (2024). The Economic Cell Collective. No commercial publisher | Authors open access book. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.8156386.

Give us your feedback

To give us your feedback about the book, please fill in this form. Your comments may concern a specific chapter or the entire book. It can really be anything: typos, factual mistakes, extra information you think should be added, ideas for new chapters, etc. For longer reviews, you can attach a separate document. For any issues or if you would like to speak to us in person, feel free to contact us directly at


The Economic Cell Collective is an informal international group of researchers. You are welcome to join!

Please see the list of authors and supporting institutions.

How to contribute

This project thrives on collaboration, and we're grateful for your willingness to support it. You are welcome contribute to our book. To learn more about what you can do, please follow this link!


The book is published under the Creative Commons license CC BY-SA. This license allows you to share and adapt (also for commercial purposes) if you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate whether changes were made. If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license CC BY-SA.

Summer school lectures

Book chapters are presented as lectures at our summer schools at LPI Paris. Lecture slides are available here.


To contact the organizing team, please send an email to

For more information, please visit our website for authors