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A detailed balanced reaction network is sufficient but not necessary for its Markov chain to be detailed balanced

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  • Certain chemical reaction networks (CRNs) when modeled as a deterministic dynamical system taken with mass-action kinetics have the property of reaction network detailed balance (RNDB) which is achieved by imposing network-related constraints on the reaction rate constants. Markov chains (whether arising as models of CRNs or otherwise) have their own notion of detailed balance, imposed by the network structure of the graph of the transition matrix of the Markov chain. When considering Markov chains arising from chemical reaction networks with mass-action kinetics, we will refer to this property as Markov chain detailed balance (MCDB). Finally, we refer to the stochastic analog of RNDB as Whittle stochastic detailed balance (WSDB). It is known that RNDB and WSDB are equivalent. We prove that WSDB and MCDB are also intimately related but are not equivalent. While RNDB implies MCDB, the converse is not true. The conditions on rate constants that result in networks with MCDB but without RNDB are stringent, and thus examples of this phenomenon are rare, a notable exception is a network whose Markov chain is a birth and death process. We give a new algorithm to find conditions on the rate constants that are required for MCDB.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 37C25, 34A34, 60J27.


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