Memes or genes?

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Wed 26 Feb 2003 - 16:07:07 GMT

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    Virtual DNA Replicates

    Technology Research News February 21, 2003

    Artificial life researchers from the Canadian National Research Council and the University of Waterloo are closely examining the self-replication process that underpins evolution using a computer simulation of self-replicating strings of symbols that work as a simplified sort of DNA. The simulation consists of T-shaped virtual objects that exist in a two-dimensional virtual soup and are affected by several forces that affect interactions among the particles, allowing them to make and break bonds with each other.

    The objects are like DNA's codons, sequences of three nucleotides in a string of genetic code. The virtual objects assemble into patterns similar to the way codons make up strands of DNA or RNA.

    The work promises to provide a better understanding of life's workings. It also lays the groundwork for inexpensive and flexible manufacturing processes that borrow from life's vast experience, including the possibility of growing machines in vats of chemicals.

    It will be more than a decade before this type of work could be ready for use in practical manufacturing processes, according to the researchers. The research is scheduled to appear in the Winter, 2003 issue of the journal Artificial Life.


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