Competition dynamics in a chemical system of self-replicating macrocycles

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Central to the origin of life is the question how a chemical system transitioned from interacting molecules to an entity with the capacity for self-replication, diversification and adaptive evolution. Here, we study a chemical system that is comprised of macrocycles that have been shown to spontaneously give rise to self-replicating entities. By combining experimental and theoretical approaches, we strive to understand the evolutionary potential of this system. In particular, we apply eco-evolutionary reasoning to investigate whether and when this system of chemical replicators can diversify. Here, we report first results of a simplified stochastic chemical reaction model that is parameterized on the basis of experimental data. The model considers the competition of two replicators that do not interact directly but need similar building blocks for their growth and reproduction. Interestingly, the replicator that emerges first is being overtaken by the later one. By means of stochastic simulations, we will explore how the competitive ability of a replicator is determined by its chemical characteristics, and under which conditions replicators can coexist. The results will subsequently inform the design of future experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArtificial Life Conference Proceedings
EditorsJosh Bongard, Juniper Lovato, Laurent Hebert-Dufrésne, Radhakrishna Dasari, Lisa Soros
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jul-2020

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