Blackwell Publishing

The rise of evolutionary biology - How are computers used in evolutionary biology?

In a typical simulation, a binary list is used to represent the genome of each individual in the population.

Each list is evaluated for its fitness. In this simulation, the higher the value of the list, the higher the fitness of the individual. The entire population is ranked in order of fitness and a certain proportion of the least fit are culled.

The remaining members of the population mate with each other, producing offspring until all the members of the new generation are created.

Mating is a random process: the list of one individual is selected by chance and crossed with another member of the population. There is always a small chance that a mutation will occur at any point in the new list.

This process of culling and mating is repeated hundreds of times. Statistics, such as mean fitness are regularly taken from the population and can then be graphed.

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