Assembly and evolution of minimal living materials

DIPC Seminars

Steen Rasmussen, University of Southern Denmark and Santa Fe Institute
Donostia International Physics Center
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Assembly and evolution of minimal living materials We use our systemic protocell design process as a starting point for exploring two fundamental questions: (i) how may minimal living systems emerge from non- living materials? and (ii) how may living systems support increasingly more evolutionary richness? Under (i), we present what we have accomplished so far experimentally and focus on theoretical and computational investigations of the remaining open challenges in establishing a stable autocatalytic coupling between a metabolism, an information replication system, and a container. Under (ii), we document and discuss two different modes of evolution: optimization and expansion. The former suffices in systems whose size and interactions do not change substantially over time, while the latter is a key property of open-ended evolution, where system components and interactions expand. We illustrate with examples from physics, biology, and economics, and we argue that to enhance the evolutionary richness in systems that only optimizes, e.g., in a simple self-replicating protocellular system, the system must be enriched with new components and thereby interactions to expand its potential dynamics. Host: Ricardo Diez Muino ZOOM: YouTube: