Multi-level Selectional Stalemate in a Simple Artificial Chemistry

  • Barry McMullin
  • Ciarán Kelly
  • Darragh O’Brien
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4648)


We describe a simple artificial chemistry which abstracts a small number of key features from the origin of life “replicator world” hypotheses. We report how this can already give rise to moderately complex and counter-intuitive evolutionary phenomena, including macro-evolutionary deterioration in replication fidelity (which corresponds to intrinsic replicator fitness in this model). We briefly describe the extension of this model to incorporate a higher, protocell, level of selection. We show that the interaction between the two levels of selection then serves to control parasitic exploitation at the molecular level, while still significantly constraining accessible evolutionary trajectories at the protocell level. We conclude with a brief discussion of the implications for further work.


Molecular Species Major Transition Replication Error Enzymatic Coupling Dominant Sequence 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry McMullin
    • 1
  • Ciarán Kelly
    • 1
  • Darragh O’Brien
    • 1
  1. 1.aLife Lab, RINCE, Dublin City UniversityIreland

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