Evolutionary dynamics of cellular automata-based self-replicators in hostile environments

Chris Salzberg, Antony Antony, Hiroki Sayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we investigate population dynamics, genealogy and complexity-increase of locally interacting populations of cellular automata-based evolving self-replicating loops (evoloops). We outline experiments indicating that the evolutionary growth in complexity, known to be achievable in principle given the complete genetic accessibility granted by universal construction, may be achievable in practice using much simpler replicating structures. By introducing evoloop populations to hostile environments, we demonstrate that selection pressures toward smaller species can be mediated to enable evolutionary accessibility to larger species, which themselves roam a much more vast portion of genetic state-space. We show that this growth in size results from intrinsically biased genealogy inherent in the rules of the evoloop CA, normally suppressed by selection pressures from direct competition favouring the smallest species. This shows that, in populations of simple self-replicating structures, a limited form of complexity-increase may result from a process which is driven by biased genealogical connectivity - a purely emergent property arising out of bottom-up evolutionary dynamics - and not just by adaptation. Implications of this result are discussed and contrasted with other self-replication studies in Artificial Life and Biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-134
Number of pages16
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellular automata
  • Evolution
  • Hostile environment
  • Mutational bias
  • Self-replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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