Summary: An Analytically Solvable Model for Rapid Evolution of
, Avi E. Mayo1.
, Tomer Kalisky1
, Uri Alon1,2
1 Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, 2 Physics of Complex Systems, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Biological systems often display modularity, in the sense that they can be decomposed into nearly independent subsystems.
Recent studies have suggested that modular structure can spontaneously emerge if goals (environments) change over time,
such that each new goal shares the same set of sub-problems with previous goals. Such modularly varying goals can also
dramatically speed up evolution, relative to evolution under a constant goal. These studies were based on simulations of
model systems, such as logic circuits and RNA structure, which are generally not easy to treat analytically. We present, here,
a simple model for evolution under modularly varying goals that can be solved analytically. This model helps to understand
some of the fundamental mechanisms that lead to rapid emergence of modular structure under modularly varying goals. In
particular, the model suggests a mechanism for the dramatic speedup in evolution observed under such temporally varying
Citation: Kashtan N, Mayo AE, Kalisky T, Alon U (2009) An Analytically Solvable Model for Rapid Evolution of Modular Structure. PLoS Comput Biol 5(4): e1000355.