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The Evolutionary Dynamics of Digital and Nucleotide Codes: A Mutation Protection Perspective

DeJong, W and Degens, H (2011) The Evolutionary Dynamics of Digital and Nucleotide Codes: A Mutation Protection Perspective. The Open Evolution Journal, 5. ISSN 1874-4044

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Abstract

Both digital codes in computers and nucleotide codes in cells are protected against mutations. Here we explore how mutation protection affects the random change and selection of digital and nucleotide codes. We illustrate our findings with a computer simulation of the evolution of a population of self replicating digital amoebae. We show that evolutionary programming of digital codes is a valid model for the evolution of nucleotide codes by random change within the boundaries of mutation protection, not for evolution by unbounded random change. Our mutation protection perspective enhances the understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of digital and nucleotide codes and its limitations, and reveals a paradox between the necessity of dysfunctioning mutation protection for evolution and its disadvantage for survival. Our mutation protection perspective suggests new directions for research into mutational robustness.

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