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When naturalist D'Arcy Thompson described the inner world of the bacterium in his 1917 book, On Growth and Form, he wrote, "...we have come to the edge of a world of which we have no experience, and where all our preconceptions must be recast." The sense of wonder Thompson felt as he observed this heretofore unseen subcellular world--and his premonition that it might not fit the existing biological paradigms--could still apply today when molecular biologists and computer scientists come together to find a common language for exploring new questions in biocomputing. Such was the case at a recent meeting at Princeton University, where molecular evolutionary biologists, computer scientists, physicists, and others assembled to discuss various topics, in particular, the evolution of the genome. According to the organizers of "Evolution as Computation", the meeting's goal was " construct a quantitative view of the computations that take place in cells and the combinatorial processes that drive evolution at the molecular level." In other words, to use the tools and concepts of information science to understand how the complex networks that comprise genetic information, such as gene regulation and genome rearrangement, evolve over time, and how they can be harnessed to test evolution in the laboratory and to build new tools in areas such as cellular engineering. The event was sponsored by the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Santa Fe Institute.
Nancy A. Forbes, Laura F. Landweber, "Computer Science and the Evolution of Genetic Information", Computing in Science & Engineering, vol. 1, no. , pp. 12-15, September/October 1999, doi:10.1109/5992.790581
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