in reply to Xia's anthropomorphigenation re phage lambda's intellect,
D.Z. Skinner asks, "how can a phage, with only about 48K basebairs of
DNA, no systems, no nerves, certainly no brain, make a DECISION???"
This makes me wonder: how much information is actually present in the
48K basepairs of lambda? Now, if I were an engineer, I might say, oh,
well, you have 48,000 places and 4 different choices of base per place,
so that gives a kajillion bits of information, or something like that.
But it seems the information is somehow context-dependent (evolutionary
context). Like, the sequence of lambda "means" one thing in our universe,
but it would almost have to "mean" total nonsense in a (this is a gedanken-
experiment) parallel universe where the analogs of "E. coli" would fail
to interact with our lambda because of the vagaries of evolution.
I guess I'm asking, does anyone know how to compute historical-evolutionary
rapr at med.pitt.edu