The Evolutionary Resilience of Distributed Cellular Computing
Individual cells process environmental information relevant to their functions using biochemical processes and signalling networks that implement a flow of information from the extracellular environment, across the cell membrane to the cytoplasm in which the actual cellular computation takes place (in the form of gene expression). In many cases, the environmental information to be processed are either molecules produced by other cells or shared extracellular molecules - in this case the processing of the environmental information is a distributed, highly parallel computing process, in which cells must synchronize, coordinate and cooperate. While the ability of cells to cooperate can increase their overall computational power, it also raises an evolutionary stability issue - population of cooperating cells are at risk of cheating cells invasions, cells that do not cooperate but exploit the benefits of the population. The bridge between membrane computing (as a mathematical formalization of cellular computing) and evolutionary dynamics (as mathematical formalization of natural selection) could lead to interesting insights on the evolutionary stability of cellular computing.
KeywordsPublic Good Cellular Population Ecological Resilience Register Machine Membrane Computing
M.C. acknowledges the support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant EP/J02175X/1. Work in the Sanchez laboratory is supported by a Young Investigator grant from the Human Frontiers Science Project and a Scialog seed grant from Simons Foundation.
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