Biological Implications of Dynamical Phases in Non-equilibrium Networks
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- Murugan, A. & Vaikuntanathan, S. J Stat Phys (2016) 162: 1183. doi:10.1007/s10955-015-1445-0
Biology achieves novel functions like error correction, ultra-sensitivity and accurate concentration measurement at the expense of free energy through Maxwell Demon-like mechanisms. The design principles and free energy trade-offs have been studied for a variety of such mechanisms. In this review, we emphasize a perspective based on dynamical phases that can explain commonalities shared by these mechanisms. Dynamical phases are defined by typical trajectories executed by non-equilibrium systems in the space of internal states. We find that coexistence of dynamical phases can have dramatic consequences for function vs free energy cost trade-offs. Dynamical phases can also provide an intuitive picture of the design principles behind such biological Maxwell Demons.