It seems that genes play a kind of ‘game’ during sexual recombination. Now, a distinguished Greek scientist who works in the USA has found an algorithm to describe this game.

Professor of computer science Christos Papadimitriou together with his colleagues of the University of California-Berkeley created an algorithm which explains sex from an evolutionary standpoint. It attempts to illustrate how sex makes it possible for genes to recombine into a new body, which in combination with natural selection in the environment creates a great diversity of life.

The role of sex in evolution has always been considered paradoxical by biologists because through sexual recombination, the offspring inherit only half of parents’ “good” genes. Thus, it is difficult to explain how exactly natural selection results in desirable genetic variations.

The innovation in the approach proposed by Papadimitriou lies in the analysis of the evolution and sex from the perspective of computing and game theory.

As the scientist said, “genes have a preference for a 50-50% rather than a 90-10% distribution. If we use an analogy with gambling, the genes want to hedge their bets. Even when there is a very successful genetic trait, evolution does not want to let the genes for other traits disappear, in case they are needed later.

While every single random person can be either genetically successful or not, the overall genetic mixture of mankind improves over time. Using the terms of gaming, it is a “coordination game”, which is aimed at the wider good.

To describe the rules of this ‘game’ evolution plays through sexual recombination, the scientists found an algorithm, which has already been used in finance as a way of managing stock portfolios.

The key point of this method is to distribute the investment in many stocks and to constantly adjust the holdings in each of them to monitor performance. If a stock is doing well, the investor raises the holdings correspondingly to how well it did, and vice versa.

As a result, such slow and patient adjustments lead to nearly the same good performance as if you invested only in a few successful stocks. Returning to the main subject of this article, we can say that the role of sex in evolution works just like this investment method.

As Prof Papadimitriou said, this algorithm “is remarkably effective, and its use in computer science does wonders. As we are noticing now, nature uses this algorithm, which helps us understand why evolution has been so successful.”

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Otto Bhan

    Good stuff Anna, thanks for a lucid and provocative article.

    What happens, one wonders, when gene selection veers toward the 90-10% designer fostered offspring begin to overwhelm evolution’s wisdom?

    I’m thinking ‘as if’ I were one of many who have the technology, tools and occult facilities to fashion, let’s say… a superior hybrid strain of wheat that will immediately revolutionize grain production and eliminate famine in our world. It could perhaps possess highly refined capabilities for osmosis taking moisture from air for its growth, extraordinary defenses to consuming pests and hardiness to weather extremes… and so on, as a start… and of course, it must be non-negative for human consumption.

    Yes, it is a dream venture we’re suggesting. But then, so was the first chair for cave-woman Icritul and her tool making mate B’gorge so many eons ago, see?

    I (me personally that is, my mother had a conscience for such mental meanderings) must consider as many results of this biosphere’s new perfect wheat and attendant effects on the world’s social, political, financial, ad infinitum… present norms, right? I mean, what will/may be the possible/probable secondary effects of eliminating hunger globally?

    At a minimum, grain cartels owners, workers, shippers, packagers, processors, and industries of factory made buy-from-the-store products would soon be victims of the disruptions caused by people replacing ornamental lawns with equally attractive green landscapes of superior wheat with its low profile, no need to mow or treat with toxic pesticides or ‘galliones’ (new word mine, patents applied for – take that, Donald Trump) of gallons of potable water and etc.. Oh, did I mention the remarkable atmospheric ‘carbon capturing for conversion’ into varietal flowerings with appealing fragrances through the atomic cellular processes; this wheat contributes to the ecology of the planet?

    Ok, stretching the point here. I ask you, how many types and numbers of chairs, stools, couches, mam-made comfort perches exists today after innumerable refining iterations and improvements
    to B’gorge and Icritul’s ‘perfect world’ fantasies? Incalculable, right? There are far more chairs in most living spaces than the number of fannies to occupy them, true? And not one of them can do what my new I-B-gorge wheat offers humanity. Would you rather a full tummy or a cushy seat in the coming famines? That’s what I thought too.

    So, while we’re raining ideas here for fun and posterities sake… let’s ask also:
    What follows I-B’gorge Wheats success… and unpleasant but unavoidable class wars when the economic shift toward nutrition utopia caused armies of multi-national corporations and even nations to rain monsoons of laws, licensing restrictions and violence down on liberated consumers of wheat and the cottage industries that sprung up like mushrooms covering the globe with new harvest, milling, storage, recycling, and fantastic recipes. All for the grown-a- home and sown virtually everywhere SUPERIOR 90-10% wheat. It takes precedence over areas where ornamental grasses were once grown. Imagine our globe of oxygen enriching fast growing low-profile, fragrant flowering, air extracted low-use water for growth, self limiting pestilence controlled, self-opening husks for easy harvest AND carbon pollution recycling for better cleaner air worldwide… what that means to the status-quo, present infrastructures and money mongers globally? Of course there be class wars for power over freedom for the masses. But what of it? There’s nothing else for it. People living on a dollar per day will suddenly find themselves with salable crops and producing products for climates and population areas where I-B’gorge isn’t permitted or possible to grow due to stony or dry sandy ground (take that OPEC, and like it).

    Think about it! How many freakin chairs do we have here now, holding then terrain in place for so few fannies to occupy them at any given moment? Well, its fantastic really, when you stop to consider the number of asses on this earth… compared ti the number of high seats that are occupied, isn’t it?

    Well, excuse me please. I’ve decided to start a search for like minded people with connections/influence/knowledge/access and such types… to out together a consortium of participants and principles (not principals, you dark schemer!) to get this thing going ASAP.

    Any interested parties, please contact Attorneys At Law: B’grudge; Amiable Blight; Uris II Mine-Handy; Toadie Hark-Rump-Jump; Steepen D’Incentives; Mi-ProfliGates Partner M.S.-OS UMPTEENTH and Mien Gaggle O’Goons Ltd.

    zzzz, zzzz, for any still awake or to read further… I wonder?

    What will human genome reconstruction be like?

    Any respondents?

    I Otto do more with my time,
    Nez pas

  2. sripad rao gumaste


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