Light-driven eco-evolutionary dynamics in a synthetic replicator system

Kai Liu, Alex Blokhuis, Chris van Ewijk, Armin Kiani, Juntian Wu, Wouter H Roos, Sijbren Otto*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

1 Citaat (Scopus)


Darwinian evolution involves the inheritance and selection of variations in reproducing entities. Selection can be based on, among others, interactions with the environment. Conversely, the replicating entities can also affect their environment generating a reciprocal feedback on evolutionary dynamics. The onset of such eco-evolutionary dynamics marks a stepping stone in the transition from chemistry to biology. Yet the bottom-up creation of a molecular system that exhibits eco-evolutionary dynamics has remained elusive. Here we describe the onset of such dynamics in a minimal system containing two synthetic self-replicators. The replicators are capable of binding and activating a co-factor, enabling them to change the oxidation state of their environment through photoredox catalysis. The replicator distribution adapts to this change and, depending on light intensity, one or the other replicator becomes dominant. This study shows how behaviour analogous to eco-evolutionary dynamics-which until now has been restricted to biology-can be created using an artificial minimal replicator system.

Originele taal-2English
TijdschriftNature Chemistry
StatusPublished - 31-aug.-2023

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