S.I. Walker, H. Kim and P.C.W. Davies (2016). Phil Trans A. 2016 374 20150057; DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2015.0057
We compare the informational architecture of biological and random networks to identify informational features that may distinguish biological networks from random. The study presented here focuses on the Boolean network model for regulation of the cell cycle of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We compare calculated values of local and global information measures for the fission yeast cell cycle to the same measures as applied to two different classes of random networks: Erdös–Rényi and scale-free. We report patterns in local information processing and storage that do indeed distinguish biological from random, associated with control nodes that regulate the function of the fission yeast cell-cycle network. Conversely, we find that integrated information, which serves as a global measure of ‘emergent’ information processing, does not differ from random for the case presented. We discuss implications for our understanding of the informational architecture of the fission yeast cell-cycle network in particular, and more generally for illuminating any distinctive physics that may be operative in life.