Tierra's missing neutrality: case solved.

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5 Author(s)

The concept of neutral evolutionary networks being a significant factor in evolutionary dynamics was first proposed by Huynen et al. about 7 years ago. In one sense, the principle is easy to state — because most mutations to an organism are deleterious, one would expect that neutral mutations that don't affect the phenotype will have disproportionately greater representation amongst successor organisms than one would expect if each mutation was equally likely. So it was with great surprise that I noted neutral mutations being very rare in a visualisation of phylogenetic trees generated in lien-a, since I already knew that there was a significant amount of neutrality in the Tierra genotype-phenotype map. It turns out that competition for resources between host and parasite inhibits neutral evolution.