On Natural Genetic Engineering: Structural Dynamism in Random Boolean Networks

Larry Bull

This short paper presents an abstract, tunable model of genomic structural change within the cell lifecycle and explores its use with simulated evolution. A well-known Boolean model of genetic regulatory networks is extended to include changes in node connectivity based upon the current cell state, e.g., via transposable elements. The underlying behaviour of the resulting dynamical networks is investigated before their evolvability is explored using a version of the NK model of fitness landscapes. Structural dynamism is found to be selected for in non-stationary environments and subsequently shown capable of providing a mechanism for evolutionary innovation when such reorganizations are inherited.

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