Navigation Links
Switching goals
Date:8/27/2007

Is heading straight for a goal the quickest way there" If the name of the game is evolution, suggests new research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, the pace might speed up if the goals themselves change continuously.

Nadav Kashtan, Elad Noor and Prof. Uri Alon of the Institutes Molecular Cell Biology and Physics of Complex Systems Departments create computer simulations that mimic natural evolution, allowing them to investigate processes that, in nature, take place over millions of years. In these simulations, a population of digital genomes evolves over time towards a given goal: to maximize fitness under certain conditions. Like living organisms, genomes that are better adapted to their environment may survive to the next generation or reproduce more prolifically. But such computer simulations, though sophisticated, dont yet have all the answers. Achieving even simple goals may take thousands of generations, raising the question of whether the three-or-so billion years since life first appeared on the planet is long enough to evolve the diversity and complexity that exist today,

Evolution takes place under changing environmental conditions, forcing organisms to continually readapt. Intuitively, this would slow things down even further, as successive generations must switch tack again and again in the struggle to survive. But when Kashtan, Noor and Alon created a simulation in which the goals changed repeatedly, they found that its evolution actually speeded up. They even found that the more complex the goal i.e., the more generations needed reach it under fixed conditions the faster evolution accelerated in response to changes in that goal.

Computerized evolution ran fastest, the scientists found, when the changes followed a pattern they believe may be pervasive in nature. In previous research, Kashtan and Alon had shown that evolution may often be modular involving adjustments to standard parts, rather than wholesale remodeling. They theorized that the forces acting on evolution may be modular as well, and for each goal, they defined subgoals that could each change in relation to the others. 'In an organism, for example, you might classify these subgoals as the need to eat, the need to keep from being eaten, and the need to reproduce. The same subgoals must be fulfilled in each new environment, but there are differences in nuance and combination,' says Kashtan. 'We saw a large speedup, for instance, when we repeatedly exchanged an 'OR' for an 'AND' in the computer code defining our goals, thus changing the relationship between subgoals.'

Although the main aim of this research, which appeared recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was to shed light on theoretical questions of evolution, it may have some practical implications, particularly in engineering fields in which evolutionary tools are commonly used for systems design; and in computer science, by providing a possible way to accelerate optimization algorithms.


'/>"/>

Contact: Yivsam Azgad
news@weizmann.ac.il
972-893-43856
Weizmann Institute of Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Switching to new anti-bacterial targets: Riboswitches
2. Switching genes to overdrive improves muscular dystrophy symptoms in mice
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/16/2016)... Dec 16, 2016 Research and Markets has ... - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... The biometric vehicle ... at a CAGR of 14.06% from 2016 to 2021. The market ... projected to reach 854.8 Million by 2021. The growth of the ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 15, 2016   WaferGen ... publicly held genomics technology company, announced today that on ... Listing Qualifications Department of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ... closing bid price of WaferGen,s common stock had been ... Accordingly, WaferGen has regained compliance with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... 2016  There is much more to innovative access ... engine. Continental will demonstrate the intelligence of today,s solutions ... . Through the combination of the keyless entry and ... elements, the international technology company is opening up new ... "The integration of biometric elements brings our ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), today announced the launch of Data ... interpretation for the rapidly evolving field of precision medicine. , Data ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... The American Medical ... update its Data Sharing Policy. Specifically, the nation’s leading informatics experts, said data ... the existing policy. AMIA recommended that NIH earmark funding for researchers to produce ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 18, 2017  Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc. (OTCQB: NWBO) ("NW ... therapies for operable and inoperable solid tumor cancers, announced ... Officer of NW Bio, will present at the Phacilitate ... the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Miami, Florida ... session entitled "New Therapeutic Approaches – Expanding the Reach ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017   Boston Biomedical ... compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, will feature ... compound, napabucasin, at the 2017 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, ... . Napabucasin is an orally-administered ... targeting STAT3. i Cancer stem cells (CSCs) possess ...
Breaking Biology Technology: