The Open Evolution Journal, 2011, 5, 1-4 1
1874-4044/11 2011 Bentham Open
The Evolutionary Dynamics of Digital and Nucleotide Codes: A Mutation Protection Perspective
William DeJong*,1 and Hans Degens2
1INI-Research, innovation and change inquiry, P.O. Box 1073, 2600 BB Delft, The Netherlands
2Institute for Biomedical Research, into Human Movement and Health, Manchester Metropolitan University, John
Dalton Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M1 5GD, UK
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.
Keywords: Evolutionary change, evolutionary dynamics, evolutionary programming, mutation protection, mutational robustness.