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Genome complexity, robustness and genetic interactions in digital organisms

Lenski, Richard E. and Ofria, Charles and Collier, Travis C. and Adami, Christoph (1999) Genome complexity, robustness and genetic interactions in digital organisms. Nature, 400 (6745). pp. 661-664. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/23245.

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Digital organisms are computer programs that self-replicate, mutate and adapt by natural selection. They offer an opportunity to test generalizations about living systems that may extend beyond the organic life that biologists usually study. Here we have generated two classes of digital organism: simple programs selected solely for rapid replication, and complex programs selected to perform mathematical operations that accelerate replication through a set of defined 'metabolic' rewards. To examine the differences in their genetic architecture, we introduced millions of single and multiple mutations into each organism and measured the effects on the organism's fitness. The complex organisms are more robust than the simple ones with respect to the average effects of single mutations. Interactions among mutations are common and usually yield higher fitness than predicted from the component mutations assuming multiplicative effects; such interactions are especially important in the complex organisms. Frequent interactions among mutations have also been seen in bacteria, fungi and fruitflies. Our findings support the view that interactions are a general feature of genetic systems.

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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle ReadCube access
Lenski, Richard E.0000-0002-1064-8375
Ofria, Charles0000-0003-2924-1732
Adami, Christoph0000-0002-2915-9504
Additional Information:© 1999 Macmillan Magazines Ltd. Received 12 April; accepted 27 May 1999. We thank A. De Visser, S. Elena, D. Lenski, P. Moore, A. Moya and S. Remold for comments, discussion and technical assistance. Access to a Beowulf system was provided by the Center for Advanced Computing Research at the California Institute of Technology. This work was supported by an NSF grant to C.A. and a fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation to R.E.L.
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John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6745
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150616-101322997
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:58280
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Jun 2015 17:28
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 22:02

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