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Pages 417-424
First published 2 September 2013

Autopoiesis Facilitates Self-Reproduction

Jean Sirmai


The first in silico models of self-reproduction only focused on the logic of the mechanisms that execute and copy the genome or renew the membrane, but neglected associated physical constraints. This may have resulted from modeling through cellular automata, which are unable to represent the cohesion of objects in movement and interaction. In previous work I presented a new, well structured and powerful tool based on a graph rewriting system embedded in a spatial automaton. This tool employs combinations of a unique symbol and can represent an unlimited variety of moving and interacting objects. As transitions are local and occur at random, each trajectory of the system differs. However, dependent events can always be represented in their natural order.

With this tool, I built a representation of an autopoietic individual. More recently, I hypothesized that this model could also be used to demonstrate self-reproduction because most of the mechanisms required for growth are already available in the autopoietic individual and few additional functions are needed. Here, I report the advancement of the model to demonstrate the ability of the autopoietic individual to self-reproduce. During self-reproduction, autopoiesis remains active and the lifespans of the various components are unchanged.

Pathological morphologies can be observed when some metabolic pathways are disturbed. Using appropriate approximations, some thermodynamic parameters can be evaluated. Additionally, a second autopoietic and selfreproductive individual can be represented within the same environment. Further, the model could be used to describe the space phase domain and invariants characteristics of each of these individuals, whose systematic enumeration and classification can be envisioned. Based on this model, I propose that autopoiesis facilitates self-reproduction.