In order to respond to environmental signals, cells often use small molecular circuits to transmit information about their surroundings. Recently, motivated by specific examples in signaling and gene regulation, a body of work has focused on the properties of circuits that function out of equilibrium and dissipate energy. We briefly review the probabilistic measures of information and dissipation and use simple models to discuss and illustrate trade-offs between information and dissipation in biological circuits. We find that circuits with non-steady state initial conditions can transmit more information at small readout delays than steady state circuits. The dissipative cost of this additional information proves marginal compared to the steady state dissipation. Feedback does not significantly increase the transmitted information for out of steady state circuits but does decrease dissipative costs. Lastly, we discuss the case of bursty gene regulatory circuits that, even in the fast switching limit, function out of equilibrium.
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