24th International Conference
On DNA Computing and
Molecular Programming
Oct. 8-12, 2018
Dates DNA 24 Program & Schedule Speakers Registration & Submission Location & Travel
Jinan ยท 2018
Plenary Speakers
Tutorial Speakers
Ricard Sole, Ph. D.

The major synthetic transitions: from nanocells to artificial minds and Terraformation


  Evolution is marked by well-defined events involving profound innovations that are known as "major evolutionary transitions". They involve the integration of autonomous elements into a new, higher-level organization whereby the former isolated units interact in novel ways, losing their original autonomy. All major transitions, which span multiple scales and include the origin of life, cells, multicellular systems, societies or language (among other examples), took place millions of years ago. Are these transitions unique, rare events? Have they instead universal traits that make them almost inevitable when the right pieces are in place? Are there general laws of evolutionary innovation? In order to approach this problem under a novel perspective, we argue that a parallel class of evolutionary transitions can be explored involving the use of artificial evolutionary experiments where alternative paths to innovation can be explored. These "synthetic" transitions include, for example, the creation of nanocells, the artificial evolution of multicellular systems or the emergence of language in evolved communicating robots. Moreover, we can also consider the creation of synthetic ecosystems and how to use them to engineer our biosphere. These alternative scenarios could help us to understand the underlying laws that predate the rise of major innovations and the possibility for general laws of evolved complexity.


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