Bit by Bit: The #Darwinian Basis of Life

http://www.PLoSBiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001323 Overview of the amount of generated information in replicating molecules

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“The number of possible compositions is xn. If these are all equally probable, then each has a prior probability of occurrence of x−n, and the information content (number of bits) associated with a particular realized composition is log2(xn). This can also be expressed as 2#bits = xn. For a binary polymer, #bits = n; for a nucleic acid polymer, #bits = 2n.

If the various compositions do not have the same prior probability of occurrence, then the information content associated with a particular realized composition must be calculated based on its prior probability of occurrence (pk), which ranges from 0 to 1. The information content (number of bits) associated with a particular realized composition is −log2(pk).”

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Gerald F. Joyce

Published: May 8, 2012

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001323