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Evolution and the Emergent SelfThe Rise of Complexity and Behavioral Versatility in Nature$
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Raymond Neubauer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231150705

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231150705.001.0001

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Information Content

Information Content

(p.39) 3 Information Content
Evolution and the Emergent Self

Raymond L. Neubauer

, Xuan Yue
Columbia University Press

This chapter describes information content in genes and brains in terms of information bits, and how such content increases in both systems over evolutionary time. Life gathers information in genes and brains, and in both there has been an increase in information content over time. There has been an increase in the average number of genes in going from prokaryotic cells (without nuclei) to eukaryotes (with nuclei), and a further increase in going from multicellular organisms with loose tissue organization to animals and plants with complex tissues. In both genes and the neurons of nervous systems, microprocessors have developed mechanisms for integrating information from many sources to make a decision. This chapter begins with an overview of gene count, gene control, and the evolution of gene regulation before proceeding with a discussion of Cambrian explosion. It then considers the role of microRNAs in developmental control, the brain as an information system, and the firing and wiring of neurons. It also explains the concept of encephalization quotient, brain development, and how information is conserved in eukaryotes and prokaryotes.

Keywords:   information content, genes, brain, gene count, gene control, evolution, gene regulation, Cambrian explosion, neurons, encephalization quotient

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