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Sci Rep. 2012;2:656. doi: 10.1038/srep00656. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

The cell cycle switch computes approximate majority.

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Microsoft Research, 7 J J Thomson Ave, Cambridge CB3 0FB, UK.


Both computational and biological systems have to make decisions about switching from one state to another. The 'Approximate Majority' computational algorithm provides the asymptotically fastest way to reach a common decision by all members of a population between two possible outcomes, where the decision approximately matches the initial relative majority. The network that regulates the mitotic entry of the cell-cycle in eukaryotes also makes a decision before it induces early mitotic processes. Here we show that the switch from inactive to active forms of the mitosis promoting Cyclin Dependent Kinases is driven by a system that is related to both the structure and the dynamics of the Approximate Majority computation. We investigate the behavior of these two switches by deterministic, stochastic and probabilistic methods and show that the steady states and temporal dynamics of the two systems are similar and they are exchangeable as components of oscillatory networks.

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