LRB: 2001-11-01 p.29 - review of Stuart Kaufmann, Investigations. Very interesting review (and book ….)

“Drawing on the mathematics of chaos theory, Kauffman points out that organisms which are close to chaos will have cycles of a length close to the square root of the number of genes they contain; those that behave chaotically will have cycles of a length close to the square root of the number of possible states of gene expression. In the former case, using his estimate of 80,000 genes in a human cell, the expected cycle length would be around 270, in the latter case a staggering large number (1 followed by 12,000 zeroes). …… So we have the suggestion conclusion that our cells and those of other organisms are engaged in biochemical behaviour that is about as complex as it can be while remaining co-ordinated.”