From the CD-ROM "Concepts and strategies"

The cell as a biological computer

by Peter Small

This article was written originally as an on-line supplement to the book "Magical A-Life Avatars". The purpose was to show how artificial cells created in a computer memory (i.e., an A-Life avatar cell) use the same techniques as biological cells to exchange and process information.

Warning: This explanation of the way in which a cell processes biological messages is necessarily a simplified account. Much of the biological detail is left out in order to get across the essence of the underlying processes taking place. For accurate and detailed explanation of the processing mechanisms described here, you are advised to consult conventional textbooks on molecular biology.