Volume 77, Number 1, January 2007
Article Number 18005
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 29 December 2006
EPL, 77 (2007) 18005
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/77/18005

From chemical reactions to evolution: Emergence of species

T. Carletti1 and D. Fanelli2, 3, 4

1  Département de Mathématique, Université Notre Dame de la Paix - 8 Rempart de la Vierge, B-5000 Namur, Belgium
2  Dipartimento di Energetica "S. Stecco", Università di Firenze - via S. Marta 3, I-50139 Firenze, Italy
3  INFN Sezione di Firenze - Firenze, Italy
4  Cell and Molecular Biology Department, Karolinska Institute - SE-17177 Stockholm, Sweden

received 31 May 2006; accepted in final form 9 November 2006; published January 2007
published online 29 December 2006

The Chemoton model constitutes a minimalistic description of a protocell unit. The original formulation assumes three coupled chemical networks, representing a proto-metabolism, a template duplication and the membrane growth. An improved version is here proposed that explicitly incorporates the effects of the volume changes, due to the membrane growth. A stochastic mechanism is also introduced that mimics a stochastic source of error in the template duplication process. Numerical simulations are performed to monitor the time evolution of a family of protocells, under the chemoton hypothesis. An open-ended Darwinian evolution under the pressure of the environment is reproduced thus allowing to conclude that differentiation into species is an emergent property of the model.

87.23.Kg - Dynamics of evolution .
87.17.Aa - Theory and modeling; computer simulation .
82.20.-w - Chemical kinetics and dynamics .

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007