Boolean networks with canalizing functions are used to model gene regulatory networks. In order to learn how such networks may behave under evolutionary forces, we simulate the evolution of a single Boolean network by means of an adaptive walk, which allows us to explore the fitness landscape. Mutations change the connections and the functions of the nodes. Our fitness criterion is the robustness of the dynamical attractors against small perturbations. We find that with this fitness criterion the global maximum is always reached and that there is a huge neutral space of 100% fitness. Furthermore, in spite of having such a high degree of robustness, the evolved networks still share many features with “chaotic” networks.
87.23.Kg Dynamics of evolution 89.75.Hc Networks and genealogical trees 87.15.Aa Theory and modeling; computer simulation
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.