, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 7–41

The Hypercycle

A principle of natural self-organization Part B: The abstract hypercycle


  • Manfred Eigen
    • Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie
  • Peter Schuster
    • Institut für theoretische Chemie und Strahlenchemie der Universität

DOI: 10.1007/BF00420631

Cite this article as:
Eigen, M. & Schuster, P. Naturwissenschaften (1978) 65: 7. doi:10.1007/BF00420631


Topologic methods are used to characterize a particular class of self-replicative reaction networks: the hypercycles. The results show that the properties of hypercycles are sufficient for a stable integration of the information contained in several self-replicative units. Among the catalytic networks studied, hypercyclic organization proves to be a necessary prerequisite for maintaining the stability of information and for promoting its further evolution. The techniques used in this paper, though familiar to mathematicians, are introduced in detail in order to make the logical arguments accessible to the nonmathematician.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978