An artificial life approach to the origins of the genetic code

I have been invited to give a talk at the “Special workshop: The Earth, Life and Artificial Life”, sponsored by ELSI, which will take place next Friday, July 27, as part of the International Conference on Artificial Life in Tokyo.

The title and abstract are as follows:

An artificial life approach to the origins of the genetic code

Tom Froese

A growing number of artificial life researchers propose that making progress on the problem of the origins of life requires taking seriously life’s embodiment: even very simple life-like systems that are spatially individuated can interact with their environment in an adaptive manner. This behavior-based approach has also opened up new perspectives on a related unsolved problem, namely the origin of the genetic code, which can now be seen as emerging out of iterated interactions in a community of individuals. Thus, artificial life demonstrates that the dominant scientific strategy of searching for the conditions of Darwinian evolution should be broadened to consider other possibilities of optimization.

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4 Comments

  1. antlerboy - Benjamin P Taylor said,

    July 19, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Reblogged this on Systems Community of Inquiry and commented:
    a very interesting approach to using embodiment as an explanatory principle for origins of life.

    “A growing number of artificial life researchers propose that making progress on the problem of the origins of life requires taking seriously life’s embodiment: even very simple life-like systems that are spatially individuated can interact with their environment in an adaptive manner. This behavior-based approach has also opened up new perspectives on a related unsolved problem, namely the origin of the genetic code, which can now be seen as emerging out of iterated interactions in a community of individuals. Thus, artificial life demonstrates that the dominant scientific strategy of searching for the conditions of Darwinian evolution should be broadened to consider other possibilities of optimization.”

  2. Tony said,

    July 20, 2018 at 12:20 am

    Hello Tom.
    I am new here.

    Embodiment always takes place in the niche peculiar to the structure of the organism whose body realises it. As such the niche also evolves with it as it is structurally coupled to it. I would not think genetic survival of the organism evolutionary can go hand in hand without the survival of its niche. This is evolution by structural drift. My question is, what would an artificial niche look like?
    Just a thought.
    Tony

    • Tom Froese said,

      July 20, 2018 at 8:55 am

      Thanks for you comment Tony! I am not sure what you mean by artificial here. When I talk about artificial life I just refer to the field that studies life by synthetic means.

      • Tony said,

        July 20, 2018 at 4:38 pm

        Thanks Tom.
        I have misunderstood the distinction between “artificial” meaning unnatural, contrived, and “synthetic” meaning made by chemical processes.
        Would you say that autopoiesis is what characterises living systems?
        Tony


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