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Origin of life in a digital microcosm
Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4872-1961
2017 (English)In: Philosophical Transactions. Series A: Mathematical, physical, and engineering science, ISSN 1364-503X, E-ISSN 1471-2962, Vol. 375, no 2109, article id 20160350Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

While all organisms on Earth share a common descent, there is no consensus on whether the origin of the ancestral self-replicator was a oneoff event or whether it only represented the final survivor of multiple origins. Here, we use the digital evolution system Avida to study the origin of self-replicating computer programs. By using a computational system, we avoid many of the uncertainties inherent in any biochemical system of self-replicators (while running the risk of ignoring a fundamental aspect of biochemistry). We generated the exhaustive set of minimal-genome self-replicators and analysed the network structure of this fitness landscape. We further examined the evolvability of these self-replicators and found that the evolvability of a self-replicator is dependent on its genomic architecture. We also studied the differential ability of replicators to take over the population when competed against each other, akin to a primordialsoup model of biogenesis, and found that the probability of a self-replicator outcompeting the others is not uniform. Instead, progenitor (mostrecent common ancestor) genotypes are clustered in a small region of the replicator space. Our results demonstrate how computational systems can be used as test systems for hypotheses concerning the origin of life. This article is part of the themed issue 'Reconceptualizing the origins of life'.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Royal Society Publishing , 2017. Vol. 375, no 2109, article id 20160350
Keywords [en]
Avida, Digital life, Information theory, Origin of life, Biochemistry, Biology, Genes, Biochemical systems, Computational system, Digital evolution, Genomic architecture, Network structures, Computation theory
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-37170DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0350Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85034773413OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-37170DiVA, id: diva2:1557898
Available from: 2021-05-27 Created: 2021-05-27 Last updated: 2021-05-27Bibliographically approved

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Hintze, Arend

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf