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The purpose of this study is to survey the use of networks and network-based methods in systems biology. This study starts with an introduction to graph theory and basic measures allowing to quantify structural properties of networks. Then, the authors present important network classes and gene networks as well as methods for their analysis. In the last part of this study, the authors review approaches that aim at analysing the functional organisation of gene networks and the use of networks in medicine. In addition to this, the authors advocate networks as a systematic approach to general problems in systems biology, because networks are capable of assuming multiple roles that are very beneficial connecting experimental data with a functional interpretation in biological terms.