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Much recent work has explored molecular and population-genetic constraints on the rate of protein sequence evolution. The best predictor of evolutionary rate is expression level, for reasons that have remained unexplained. Here, we hypothesize that selection to reduce the burden of protein misfolding will favor protein sequences with increased robustness to(More)
A long-standing challenge to evolutionary theory has been whether it can explain the origin of complex organismal features. We examined this issue using digital organisms--computer programs that self-replicate, mutate, compete and evolve. Populations of digital organisms often evolved the ability to perform complex logic functions requiring the coordinated(More)
Darwinian evolution favours genotypes with high replication rates, a process called 'survival of the fittest'. However, knowing the replication rate of each individual genotype may not suffice to predict the eventual survivor, even in an asexual population. According to quasi-species theory, selection favours the cloud of genotypes, interconnected by(More)
Arguments for or against a trend in the evolution of complexity are weakened by the lack of an unambiguous definition of complexity. Such definitions abound for both dynamical systems and biological organisms, but have drawbacks of either a conceptual or a practical nature. Physical complexity, a measure based on automata theory and information theory, is a(More)
Digital organisms are computer programs that self-replicate, mutate and adapt by natural selection. They offer an opportunity to test generalizations about living systems that may extend beyond the organic life that biologists usually study. Here we have generated two classes of digital organism: simple programs selected solely for rapid replication, and(More)
To make a case for or against a trend in the evolution of complexity in biological evolution, complexity needs to be both rigorously defined and measurable. A recent information-theoretic (but intuitively evident) definition identifies genomic complexity with the amount of information a sequence stores about its environment. We investigate the evolution of(More)
We review recent advances in the understanding of the mutation-selection balance of asexual replicators. For over 30 years, population geneticists thought that an expression derived by Kimura and Maruyama in 1966 fully solved this problem. However, Kimura and Maruyama's result is only correct in the absence of neutral mutations. The inclusion of neutral(More)
We present a model of decentralized growth and development for artificial neural networks (ANNs), inspired by developmental biology and the physiology of nervous systems. In this model, each individual artificial neuron is an autonomous unit whose behavior is determined only by the genetic information it harbors and local concentrations of substrates. The(More)