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ALIFE
2013

The positive role of parasites in the origins of life

6 years 10 months ago
The positive role of parasites in the origins of life
—One problem in the origins of life is how parasitic side-reactions can be mitigated. It is known that spatial selforganisation can help with this, making autocatalytic chemical systems more robust to invasion by parasitic species. In previous work we have shown that in such scenarios parasitic reactions can actually be beneficial. Here we demonstrate for the first time a system in which the presence of a parasitic autocatalytic cycle is not only beneficial but actually necessary for the persistence of its host. This occurs due to the effect the parasite has on the spatial organisation of the system; the host-parasite system is more stable than the host alone, despite the fact that the parasite’s direct effect on its host is purely negative. We briefly discuss the implications for the origins of life. Keywords—origins of life, reaction-diffusion, parasites, spatial self-organisation
Nathaniel Virgo, Tom Froese, Takashi Ikegami
Added 27 Apr 2014
Updated 27 Apr 2014
Type Journal
Year 2013
Where ALIFE
Authors Nathaniel Virgo, Tom Froese, Takashi Ikegami
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