First published 2 September 2013
Sequence selection and evolution in a binary polymer model
Steen Rasmussen, Harold Fellermann, Shinpei Tanaka
The emergence of autocatalytic structures in model chemistries has been a prominent subject throughout the history of artificial life research (Rasmussen (1985); Farmer et al. (1986); Kauffman (1986); Rasmussen (1989); Hordijk et al. (2011) and others). Most of these works have been concerned with the likelihood of finding autocatalytic sets in a population of random cross-catalytic molecules. Here, in contrast, we study how the detailed sequence structure determines the properties of the emergent cooperative structures. In particular, we study a system of binary polymers, where each polymer can replicate itself by exact ligation of two matching subsequences. We report the emergence of stable cooperative structures with high equilibrated polymer concentrations together with a quantitative connection between the details of the sequence and the frequency as well as the stability of the evolving cooperative structures. These findings could have implications for early earth information polymers as well as the design of protocell information polymer networks.