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Author Topic: Why does a computer need more data than human DNA?  (Read 5130 times)

@Whittlesford

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@Whittlesford asked the Naked Scientists:
   
If the human genome contains 750mb storage* (& 90% is the same as a banana), then why does my PC operating system need 1Gb?

[* - we're not sure of the source or validity of this figure. Ed.]

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 11/03/2011 01:30:06 by _system »


 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why does a computer need more data than human DNA?
« Reply #1 on: 11/03/2011 18:18:20 »
The human genome is about 3 billion base pairs*. You could map that to 6 gigabits or 0.75 G bytes the question is the right order of magnitude and my PC has roughly a terabyte of storage, so the question is valid. Why should I need a thousand times more storage on my PC than in my DNA?

* according to this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_genome
 

Offline RD

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Why does a computer need more data than human DNA?
« Reply #2 on: 11/03/2011 22:54:52 »
To make an accurate computer simulation: a “virtual” human, you’d need to model each cell.

Quote
the order of magnitude of the number of cells in a human body can be approximated to 1014 or one hundred trillion cells.
 
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/1998-03/889221957.An.r.html
 

Offline lab monkey

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Why does a computer need more data than human DNA?
« Reply #3 on: 16/03/2011 12:54:38 »
That's not a fair question.

A computer is run and an end process occurs.  If you "run" DNA, you get peptides which may be formed into proteins which can ultimately aggregate and interact and form sub-cellular structures.  Enough of these might for an organelle and the correct combination of organelles, enzymes and other proteins may make a cell.  Add enough cells together and you may even end up with a human (there is much evidence to the contrary).

So on the computer the code leads directly to the final function or process.  With DNA, it's nowhere near it.  If you added in the processes of protein synthesis, translation, gene expression control and the huge array of accessories you need to "turn the right genes on or off" you'd find that the human genome would need much much much more storage.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why does a computer need more data than human DNA?
« Reply #4 on: 16/03/2011 18:55:13 »
"If you added in the processes of protein synthesis, translation, gene expression control and the huge array of accessories you need to "turn the right genes on or off" you'd find that the human genome would need much much much more storage."
As far as I can tell those must all be encoded in a single cell; the fertilised egg.
If they are not in the DNA then
1)
where are they stored and
2)
how are they copied from one generation of cells to the next?
 

Offline granpa

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Offline CliffordK

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Why does a computer need more data than human DNA?
« Reply #6 on: 18/03/2011 01:24:35 »
A better comparison would be to compare the human body to one hundred trillion Timex Sinclair Computers...  all wired together.  Each sporting a full 1 KB of RAM.
 

Offline yor_on

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Why does a computer need more data than human DNA?
« Reply #7 on: 24/03/2011 23:35:38 »
A computer is binary. the genome seems to create structures that adds to the communication, like protein folding that will define how you feel :) (Mad Cow disease for example). It's more like some holographic principle to me, and/or non linear.

And fractal of course :)
 

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Why does a computer need more data than human DNA?
« Reply #7 on: 24/03/2011 23:35:38 »

 

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