Human metabolic reconstruction published (Recon2)

The metabolic modeling community has curated information from five models to create the most comprehensive model of human metabolism to date.

Posted on: Mar 03, 2013

In the last five years our group has been involved in a community-driven effort to create the most up to date metabolic reconstruction of human metabolism. The article A community-driven global reconstruction of human metabolism, just published online ahead of print in the journal Nature Biotechnology, details the result of this effort. Five different sources were used to create Recon 2, the most comprehensive description of human metabolism.

Unlike the genome, metabolism is different in different cell types, so while a global reconstruction like Recon 2 is useful, it is also important to know how each cell type is different from each other. Recon 2 was therefore used to create draft reconstructions of 65 different cell types, by using data from the Human Protein Atlas.

Recon 2 maps the human genome to physiology, allowing for prediction of the consequences of mutations (such as inborn errors of metabolism), as well as the action of drugs and other environmental challenges. This is an essential component towards building a digital human, that will allow us truly to understand each single individual person and carry out personalized medicine.

The efforts to create Recon 2 started in 2008 with a meeting in Manchester, sponsored by our Manchester Centre fo Integrative Systems Biology, followed by meetings in Gothenburg, Virgina and Iceland. The two major contributors to this effort were our own Neil Swainston and Ines Thiele, from the University of Iceland.

The paper is available as open access. Recon 2 is available through and the BioModels database.