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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7551/978-0-262-32621-6-ch016
Pages 89-96
First published 30 July 2014

Evolving biological systems: Evolutionary Pressure to Inefficiency

Dominique Chu and David Barnes

Abstract (Excerpt)

The evolution of quantitative details (i.e. "parameter values") of biological systems is highly under-researched. We use evolutionary algorithms to co-evolve parameters for a generic but biologically plausible topological differential equation model of nutrient uptake. In our model, evolving cells compete for a finite pool of nutrient resources. From our investigations it emerges that the choice of values is very important for the properties of the biological system. Our analysis also shows that clonal populations that are not subject to competition from other species best grow at a very slow rate. However, if there is co-evolutionary pressure, that is, if a population of clones has to compete with other cells, then the fast growth is essential, so as not to leave resources to the competitor. We find that this strategy, while favoured evolutionarily, is inefficient from an energetic point of view, that is less growth is achieved per unit of input nutrient. We conclude, that competition can lead to an evolutionary pressure towards inefficiency.