Sci Am. Aug;(2) Antichaos and adaptation. Kauffman SA(1). Author information: (1)University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. Erratum in . English[edit]. Etymology[edit]. anti- + chaos, coined by Stuart Kauffman in Antichaos and Adaptation (published in Scientific American, August ). Antichaos and Adaptation Biological evolution may have been shaped by more than just natural selection. Computer models suggest that.

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As the parameters describing a complex Boolean system change, the system’s behavior alters, too: The parallels support antichwos hypothesis that evolution has tuned adaptive gene regulatory systems to the ordered region and perhaps to near the boundary between order and chaos.

Low connectivity is therefore a sufficient condition for orderly behavior to arise in disordered switching systems. The efforts are still so new that there is not yet even a generally accepted, comprehensive definition of complexity.

At the next clocked moment, the elements turn on or off in accordance with their individual functions. Antichaos and Adaptation Biological evolution may have been shaped by more than just natural selection. Selection has molded, but was not compelled to invent, the native coherence of ontogeny, or biological development.

Highly chaotic networks would be so disordered that control of complex behaviors would be hard to maintain. Given that interpretation, the spontaneous order arising in networks with low connectivity and canalizing Boolean functions sets up several predictions about real biological systems.

Antichaos and adaptation.

Moreover, the expected sizes of the unfrozen islands in the gene systems come close to predicting the sizes of such avalanches. In canalizing functions, at least one input has a value that can by itself determine the activity of the regulated element. A system must therefore eventually reenter a state that it has previously encountered.

The natural suggestion is that a cell type corresponds to a state-cycle attractor: But Darwin could not have suspected the existence of self-organization, a recently discovered, innate property of some complex systems. Transient reversals in the activity of a single element typically cannot propagate beyond the confines of an isolated island and therefore cannot cause much damage. To understand how self-organization can be a force in evolution, a brief overview of complex systems is necessary.


Since then, mathematicians, computer scientists and solid state physicists, among them my many colleagues at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, have made substantial progress. Consequently, a cell should run through all the gene expression patterns of its type in roughly to 3, minutes.

Interesting dynamic behaviors emerge at the edge of chaos. As Darwin taught, mutations and natural selection can improve a biological system through the accumulation of successive minor variants, just as tinkering can improve technology. The system as a whole becomes orderly because changes in its behavior must antichaoa small and local.

Every network must have at least one state cycle; it may have more. Minimal perturbations in those systems cause avalanches of damage that can alter the behavior of most of the unfrozen elements. The OR function is a typical canalizing function. Typically only a few percent of the genes should show different activities. In other words, once a cell has begun to differentiate along certain lines, it loses the choice of differentiating in other ways. Computer adaptatiln suggest that certain complex systems tend toward self-organization by Stuart A.

The basic answer seems to be that they develop a antichaod core, or a connected mesh of elements that are effectively locked into either an active or inactive state.

Antichaos and adaptation. – Abstract – Europe PMC

Chaos in the weather is exemplified by the so-called butterfly effect: The complexity qnd a network can coordinate peaks at the liquid transition between solid and adaptqtion states. As a result, the system is partitioned into an unchanging frozen core and islands of changing elements. The stability of an attractor is proportional to its basin size, which is the number of states on trajectories that drain into the attractor.

Mathematical models can help researchers understand the features of such complex parallel-processing systems. The set of states that flow into a cycle or that lie on it constitutes the “basin of attraction” of the state cycle.


These expectations are met by real genetic systems. It ad not a necessary condition, however. A minimal perturbation is a transient flipping of a binary element to its opposite state of activity. If one were to examine a network ofantichoas, each receiving two inputs, its wiring diagram would be a wildly complex scramble.

Anntichaos, all the cell types in an organism should express most of the same genes. The expected size of avalanches in canalizing genomes with anticuaos, elements or in those with low connectivity and a frozen core containing roughly 80 percent of the genes is about Most attractors claim relatively few states.

The expected number of state cycles equals the number of elements divided by the logarithmic constant e. The ordered network regime is therefore characterized by a homeostatic quality: These systems are named after George Boole, the English inventor of an algebraic approach to mathematical logic. Consequently, in random networks with only two inputs per element, each attractor is stable to most minimal perturbations.

Indeed, the capacity to evolve and adapt may itself be an achievement of evolution. Nevertheless, on the basis of mathematical models for biological systems that exhibit self-organization, one can make predictions that are consistent with the observed properties of organisms.

A complex program on a standard computer, for example, cannot readily evolve by random mutations: The stability of attractors subjected to minimal perturbations can differ. That order, of course, is much the same as I have described for networks with low connectivity. The approach begins by idealizing the behavior of each element in the system-each gene, in the case of the genome-as a simple binary on or off variable.