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The Cell is a computer

  1. Mar 19, 2005 #1
    How many biologists recognize that the cell is a biochemical computer with molecular memory? I don't mean it is similar to a computer or analogous to a computer. The cell is one design that might be chosen by someone building a molecular level self replicating computer, particularly for robotic applications.

    The cell receives inputs,such as a protein, processes the inputs according to instructions in its memory and then produces a protein output. Biologists often think of the cell's memory, its chromosomes, as consisting of four bases and ignore the special way in which they are arranged. Each two bit "byte" consists of one of two sets of bases and one of the two members of the set will be in the "0 bit" position. This arrangment allows one bit to effectively represent two bits worth of information, a strategy also contemplated for quantum computers.

    Recognizing that the cell is a computer would help understand how the cell functions and the role of those sections of DNA sometimes referred to as "junk" DNA. For example, some of this DNA might function as a "data statement" -- an area of information used as values for various instructions.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2005 #2
    A cell is not only a computer but an intelligent machine. It's internal programming (a typical human cell only expresses a small portion of its full genome) allows it to carry out specific function that a computer can only "dream" about. Most biologist will not compare a cell do a computer because a cell is way more complicated.
  4. Mar 20, 2005 #3
    This is funny, because I remember back in grade school when I first encountered the functions of the cell. I was like, WOW this is exactly like a computer! And then as I grew older, now in university, I don't think that anymore. If anything, the computer is IMO a crappy model of the cell.
  5. Mar 26, 2005 #4


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    I agree with the comments so far, that the cell is a much more advanced computer in its synergy of processes compared to an electronic computer. However, I do understand reasonmclucus question. In slightly different wording, do biologists recognize that biological processes may be used to perform computations? Yes I do.
  6. Mar 26, 2005 #5


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    A research group in Amsterdam is trying to build a silicon cell. You input all the chemical reactions, after which you can do simulations with it. Ofcourse it will be hard to capture the true nature of a living cell.

  7. Mar 26, 2005 #6
    first impression differences, temporarily

    cell shape is more flexible, less rigid, can't be taken apart and put back together as easily, most require constant power to survive, sometimes need computers help to survive although computers need cells help to survive.
    Interesting thoughts.

    Gil of surrealcity.com
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