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First published 20 July 2015

Morphogenesis and Replication of Multi-Cellular Organisms with Evolved Variable Length Self-Modifying Genomes

Stefano Nichele and Gunnar Tufte

Abstract (Excerpt)

The genomes of biological organisms are not fixed in size. They evolved and diverged into different species acquiring new genes, thus having different lengths. In a way, biological genomes are the result of a self-assembly process where parent’s genes sometimes are not only copied to offspring but are also duplicated. There is scientific evidence that all species have evolved and diverged from a common ancestor, i.e. last universal ancestor (LUA), and the mechanisms of gene duplication played an important role for genetic novelty and evolutionary innovation. This complexification process is a plausible explanation of how efficient and robust genomes have evolved. Morphogenesis is a result of the inherent scalability of biological genomes. In the artificial domain, evolutionary morphogenetic systems often have static size genomes, e.g. chosen beforehand by the system designer by trial and error or estimated a priori with complicated heuristics. As such, the maximum evolvable complexity is predetermined. This is in contrast with open-ended evolution in nature.