Unexpected evolutionary dynamics in a string based artificial chemistry

Decraene, James, George G. Mitchell, and Barry McMullin. “Unexpected evolutionary dynamics in a string based artificial chemistry.” (2008).

This work investigates closure in Cell Signaling Networks, which is one research area within the ESIGNET project. We employ a string-based Artificial Chemistry based on Holland’s broadcast language (Molecular Classifier System, Broadcast Language, or MCS.b). We present a series of experiments focusing on the emergence and evolution of self-maintaining molecular organizations. Such experiments naturally relate to similar studies conducted in artificial chemistries such as Tierra, Alchemy and Alpha-Universes. However, our results demonstrate some counter-intuitive outcomes, not indicated in previous literature. Each of these “unexpected” evolutionary dynamics (including an elongation catastrophe phenomenon) are examined and explained both informally and formally. We also demonstrate how the elongation catastrophe can be prevented using a multi-level selectional model of the MCS.b (which acts both at the molecular and cellular level). This work provides complementary insights into the understanding of evolutionary dynamics in minimal artificial chemistries.

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