Complex genetic evolution of artificial self-replicators in cellular automata

Chris Salzberg, Hiroki Sayama*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


It is widely believed that evolutionary dynamics of artificial self-replicators realized in cellular automata (CA) are limited in diversity and adaptation. Contrary to this view, we show that complex genetic evolution may occur within simple CA. The evolving self-replicating loops (" evoloops") we investigate exhibit significant diversity in macro-scale morphologies and mutational biases, undergoing nontrivial genetic adaptation by maximizing colony density and enhancing sustainability against other species. Nonmutable subsequences enable genetic operations that alter fitness differentials and promote long-term evolutionary exploration. These results demonstrate a unique example of genetic evolution hierarchically emerging from local interactions between elements much smaller than individual replicators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Cellular automata
  • Diversity
  • Genetic evolution
  • Self-replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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