Applications of Artificial Life and Digital Organisms in the Study of Genetic Evolution

Maurice HT Ling


Testing evolutionary hypothesis in experimental setting is expensive, time consuming, and unlikely to recapitulate evolutionary history if evolution is repeated. Computer simulations of virtual organisms, also known as artificial life or digital organisms (DOs) can be used for in silico study of evolutionary processes. This mini-review focuses on the use of DOs in the study of genetic evolution. The three main areas focused in this review are (1) emergence of specialized cells, (2) chemical and environmental resistance, and (3) genetic adaptability. This review concludes with a discussion on the limitations on using DOs as a tool for studying genetic evolution.


Digital Organisms; Artificial Life; Evolution; Genetics; Robustness; Mutations

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