This is one of a series of posts on evolvability. It is based off my undergraduate thesis, which I wrote at the University of Puget Sound under advisors Dr. America Chambers and Dr. Adam Smith. The original thesis is available here. Blog Series on Evolvability I like digital evolution because it necessitates the examination of fundamental assumptions of what is necessary for evolution. Building a digital evolution system, a researcher must work out how the phenotypes that are being evolved should be genetically encoded. This decision raises an interesting question: how do genetic encodings for digital evolution systems influence the evolutionary process within these systems? I think this question is really interesting! Better understanding this question has practical implications for digital evolution, as well. So, I picked it up as the topic for my undergraduate thesis. […]
The ALife XV conference is taking place July 4-8 in Cancun, Mexico this year, and is shaping up to look like it’s going to be an exciting program. For those of you interested in presenting, papers or abstract submissions are due in just over a month. We’re including the full Call for Papers below. A number of members of the Devolab are planning to go, so let us know if you will be there and would like to meet up! Call for Papers: The 2016 ALife Organizing Committee would like to cordially invite you to submit your work to “The Fifteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems”, taking place at the Cancun International Convention Center in Cancun, Mexico, on July 4-8, 2016.
Happy holidays to those celebrating this week! We don’t actually have snow around here strangely, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. If you missed it last year, Emily did a wonderful recreation of A Christmas Carol, academic style! An Academic Christmas Carol: Part 1
If mutation is the ultimate source of genetic novelty, can a bias of mutation inflow alter the evolutionary trajectory of a population? On the surface, it would appear the answer should be yes. Intuitively, the path through genotype space should be influenced by the manner in which mutations are introduced into the population. For an easy to digest analogy, consider a rephrased thought experiment proposed by Stoltzfus and Yampolsky called “Climbing Mount Probable” [Stoltzfus, A., & Yampolsky, L. Y. (2009). Climbing mount probable: Mutation as a cause of nonrandomness in evolution. Journal of Heredity, 100(5), 637–647]. Beginning with the 80 year old fitness-landscape as a mountain analogy, we can envision a population of haploid organisms clustered about the face of a mountain with the organisms’ elevation representing their absolute fitnesses. Genetic novelty introduced through mutation during […]
Laboratory components are often integral parts of both K-12 and college science courses. I certainly had a lot over the course of my science education; 5 courses with labs in high school, 8 in college. But for the overwhelming majority of them, I was essentially following a recipe and doing by rote things which had already been done and where the answers were already known. It was only in science-fair-style projects that I typically had any control over the questions I was asking, or how I would go about trying to answer them. But science education doesn’t have to be like that. Inquiry-based science practice is a growing part of the recommendations for science education1 2. Thankfully, computational tools are making these practices more accessible. NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By […]