Sunday, September 29, 2013

McCabe complexity of the polymerase machine

Most software engineers have probably heard of McCabe Complexity.  I can't help but wonder how Thomas McCabe would evaluate the complexity of DNA/RNA decoding and transcription process:

He [Thomas McCabe] is taking a much more achievable approach [than attempting to compute the complexity of the cell].  At the risk of oversimplifying his idea, we will say that instead of looking at all the metabolic processes in the cell, he is looking at just one. Specifically, there is a process in living cells that decodes the genetic information in the DNA molecule and builds biological structures accordingly. Conceptually, this process is not much different from the software program in a CD player that reads a compact disk and converts the information into music. Since we can compute the complexity of a program that reads a CD, one should also be able to compute the complexity of the biological process that reads and processes genetic information.
Sounds exciting.

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