I’ve had a paper accepted by the Tenth Artificial Life Conference for publication in the proceedings and for oral presentation! This is my first published paper in my new academic career. Here is the abstract of the version I submitted, before any revisions I’m about to do [updated as per final submission 12 Jan 06]:
Simulation Model of Prebiotic Evolution of Genetic Coding
Sidney Markowitz , Alexei Drummond, Kay Nieselt, and Peter R Wills
Common to all life on Earth are the mechanisms of genetic encoding, in which specific trinucleotide sequences in DNA and RNA map to specific amino acids in synthesized proteins. This paper investigates a novel gene-replicase-translatase (GRT) system to determine whether emergence of genetic encoding from an initially random population of genes and proteins is feasible. The model incorporates gene replication with mutation, error-prone protein translation, and an arbitrary encoding from codons to amino acids. Simulations on the order of 109 event steps demonstrate self-organization to evolutionary stability with distinct phase transitions. The ranges of parameters that lead to an apparent attractor state are consistent with the notion of error threshold as a determinant of stability in error-prone autocatalytic systems.