University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors


  • 902862

    Accepted author manuscript, 667 KB, PDF-document

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArtificial Life XI
Subtitle of host publicationProcs of the 11th Int Conf on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems.
PublisherMIT Press
ISBN (Print)978-0-262-75017-2
StatePublished - 2008


Development is the powerful process involving a genome in
the transformation from one egg cell to a multicellular organism
with many cell types. The dividing cells manage to
organize and assign themselves special, differentiated roles
in a reliable manner, creating a spatio-temporal pattern and
division of labor. This despite the fact that little positional
information may be available to them initially to guide this
patterning. Inspired by a model of developmental biologist
L. Wolpert, we simulate this situation in an evolutionary setting
where individuals have to grow into “French flag” patterns.
The cells in our model exist in a 2-layer Potts model
physical environment. Controlled by continuous genetic regulatory
networks, identical for all cells of one individual, the
cells can individually differ in parameters including target
volume, shape, orientation, and diffusion. Intercellular communication
is possible via secretion and sensing of diffusing
morphogens. Evolved individuals growing from a single cell
can develop the French flag pattern by setting up and maintaining
asymmetric morphogen gradients – a behavior predicted
by several theoretical models.


Original paper can be found at:

ID: 454684