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Size selection and adaptive evolution in an artificial chemistry


Lucht, MW, Size selection and adaptive evolution in an artificial chemistry, Artificial Life, 18, (2) pp. 143-163. ISSN 1064-5462 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

DOI: doi:10.1162/artl_a_00057


A simple artificial chemistry for the Squirm3 artificial environment, consisting of replicators that produce quasi-universal enzymes, is presented. The aim of this system is twofold: first, to demonstrate the survival of extracellular replicators despite the presence of faster-replicating parasites; second, to observe the evolution of adaptively useful enzymes. Accomplishing these goals will underpin future attempts to attain open-ended and/or creative evolution in the Squirm3 environment. The first aim is achieved by attaching enzymes to their replicators. Our software implementation demonstrates replicators with 10 bases prospering in the presence of parasites with zero bases. To accomplish the second aim, a process for creating selection pressure toward longer molecules is introduced. The evolution and subsequent dominance of a replicator that produces an adaptively useful enzyme is demonstrated experimentally. Finally, we comment on the crucial role played by neutral evolution and discuss the biological significance of our results.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:evolution, self-organization, emergence, molecular simulation, origin of life, complex systems
Research Division:Information and Computing Sciences
Research Group:Artificial intelligence
Research Field:Artificial life and complex adaptive systems
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the information and computing sciences
UTAS Author:Lucht, MW (Dr Michael Lucht)
ID Code:78599
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Information and Communication Technology
Deposited On:2012-07-09
Last Modified:2013-04-25

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