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Artificial Life

Spring 1995, Vol. 2, No. 3, Pages 269-292.
(doi: 10.1162/artl.1995.2.3.269)
© 1996 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Artificial Symbiogenesis
Article PDF (4.34 MB)

Symbiosis is the phenomenon in which organisms of different species live together in close association, resulting in a raised level of fitness for one or more of the organisms. Symbiogenesis is the name given to the process by which symbiotic partners combine and unify—forming endosymbioses and then potentially transferring genetic material—giving rise to new morphologies and physiologies evolutionarily more advanced than their constituents. In this article we begin by using the NKC model of coevolution to examine endosymbiosis and its effect on the evolutionary performance of the partners involved. We are then able to suggest the conditions under which endosymbioses are more likely to occur and why; we find they emerge between organisms within a window of their respective “chaotic gas regimes” and hence that the association represents a more stable state for the partners. The conditions under which gene transfer is more likely to represent an advantage for such endosymbionts are then examined within the same model. We find that, providing a suitable pathway exists, such a process can lead to a more efficient genetic configuration for the symbionts within a window that overlaps that in which endosymbioses occur. Finally, the results are used as grounds for implementing symbiogenesis within artificial evolutionary multiagent systems.