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Cellular Computations

Similar to computing on chips, the biochemical networks behind cellular computations are also constrained by energetic considerations, write Boston University's Pankaj Mehta and Princeton University's David Schwab in a paper posted online at arXiv. Mehta and Schwab examined a simple two-component cellular network "that encodes information about ligand concentration in the steady-state concentration of the activated form of a downstream protein" — which they note is common in bacteria — and calculated its energetic costs. "[Our calculations] suggest a fundamental relationship between the efficiency of cellular computing and the energy consumption," Mehta and Schwab write.

"These guys actually derive a mathematical expression that gives this biochemical circuit's power consumption," KFC adds at the Physics arXiv Blog. "The expression shows that learning about the environment always requires the network to use up energy."

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.