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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7551/978-0-262-31709-2-ch114
Pages 793-801
First published 2 September 2013

The role of backward reactions in a stochastic model of catalytic reaction networks

Alessandro Filisetti, Alex Graudenzi, Chiara Damiani, Marco Villani, Roberto Serra

Abstract

We investigate the role of backward reactions in a stochastic model of catalytic reaction network, with specific regard to the influence on the emergence of autocatalytic sets (ACSs), which are supposed to be one of the pre-requisites in the transition between non-living to living matter.

In particular, we analyse the impact that a variation in the kinetic rates of forward and backward reactions may have on the overall dynamics.

Significant effects are indeed observed, provided that the intensity of backward reactions is sufficiently high. In spite of an invariant activity of the system in terms of production of new species, as backward reactions are intensified, the emergence of ACSs becomes more likely and an increase in their number, as well as in the proportion of species belonging to them, is observed. Furthermore, ACSs appear to be more robust to fluctuations than in the usual settings with no backward reaction.

This outcome may rely not only on the higher average connectivity of the reaction graph, but also on the distinguishing property of backward reactions of recreating the substrates of the corresponding forward reactions.