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NC
2008

How crystals that sense and respond to their environments could evolve

9 years 7 months ago
How crystals that sense and respond to their environments could evolve
An enduring mystery in biology is how a physical entity simple enough to have arisen spontaneously could have evolved into the complex life seen on Earth today. Cairns-Smith has proposed that life might have originated in clays which stored genomes consisting of an arrangement of crystal monomers that was replicated during growth. While a clay genome is simple enough to have conceivably arisen spontaneously, it is not obvious how it might have produced more complex forms as a result of evolution. Here, we examine this possibility in the tile assembly model, a generalized model of crystal growth that has been used to study the self-assembly of DNA tiles. We describe hypothetical crystals for which evolution of complex crystal sequences is driven by the scarceness of resources required for growth. We show how, under certain circumstances, crystal growth that performs computation can predict which resources are abundant. In such cases, crystals executing programs that make these predictio...
Rebecca Schulman, Erik Winfree
Added 14 Dec 2010
Updated 14 Dec 2010
Type Journal
Year 2008
Where NC
Authors Rebecca Schulman, Erik Winfree
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