Mortal Organisms Rescue Immortal Organisms from Evolutionary Inertness: Perspective of the Programmed Self-decomposition Model

  • Tadao Maekawa
  • Manabu Honda
  • Osamu Ueno
  • Tsutomu Oohashi
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11324)


Our previous molecular cell biology studies on altruistic phenomena suggested that altruistic self-decomposition for the greater good is universally embedded in living organisms. Our artificial life simulations also showed that by promoting evolutionary adaptation in a global environment, which has finite, heterogeneous conditions, mortal organisms with altruistic self-decomposition prosper better than immortal organisms. In addition, we recently reported notable results showing that mortal organisms capable of self-decomposition emerged from indigenous immortal organisms through mutation; such mortal organisms survived and left behind offspring, albeit very rarely, but when they survived, they surpassed immortal organisms without exception. Our present focus was to determine if the altruistic contribution of mortal organisms to the ecosystem provided an optimum solution for an evolutionary dead end. In our simulations, the residual lysing (Lyse: To break down into smaller molecules.) activity after self-decomposition of mortal organisms enabled immortal organisms at a standstill of proliferation to resume proliferation by recycling materials and space. Those immortal organisms then proceeded through evolutionary adaptation to inhabit a new environment. Mortal organisms, however, were shown to be more predominant and ultimately surpassed immortal organisms, causing the latter to perish naturally. Our results raise the possibility that the global ecosystem obtained an optimum solution for the ecosystem by ultimately selecting an altruistic life.


Artificial life Altruism Autolysis Death Evolution Ecosystem 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tadao Maekawa
    • 1
  • Manabu Honda
    • 2
  • Osamu Ueno
    • 2
  • Tsutomu Oohashi
    • 3
  1. 1.Yokkaichi UniversityYokkaichiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Functional Brain ResearchNational Center of Neurology and PsychiatryKodairaJapan
  3. 3.Foundation for Advancement of International ScienceTsukubaJapan

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