IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Evolution in Systems of Ligation-Based Replicators


  • Bårbel M. R. Stadler
  • Peter F. Stadler
  • Peter R. Wills


The population dynamics of macromolecules that reproduce by means of template-directed ligation of two fragments are shown to be represented by a replicator equation with a special non-linear response function. This result is obtained through detailed consideration of the mechanism of ligation autocatalysis. In contrast to treatments which involve simplification to a parabolic growth law and the expectation of global coexistence of all species, we find that strong selection can take place in such systems, even when there is slow uncatalysed synthesis of replicators. Also, systems of this type are subject to invasion by new species that have a selective advantage. An expression is derived for the survival threshold in terms of species parameters and it is shown that this threshold depends on the total concentration of all species in the system. For a plausible distribution of species parameters, the number of surviving species coexisting above the threshold increases monotonically with increasing concentration. Illustrative numerical simulations are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Bårbel M. R. Stadler & Peter F. Stadler & Peter R. Wills, 2001. "Evolution in Systems of Ligation-Based Replicators," Working Papers 01-09-052, Santa Fe Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:01-09-052

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Walter Fontana & Peter Schuster, 1998. "Continuity in Evolution: On the Nature of Transition," Working Papers 98-04-030, Santa Fe Institute.
    2. W. Fontana & P. Schuster, 1998. "Shaping Space: The Possible and the Attainable in RNA Genotype-Phenotype Mapping," Working Papers ir98004, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
    3. W. Fontana & P. Schuster, 1998. "Continuity in Evolution: On the Nature of Transitions," Working Papers ir98039, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
    4. BŠrbel M. R. Stadler & Peter F. Stadler & GŸnter P. Wagner & Walter Fontana, 2000. "The Topology of the Possible: Formal Spaces Underlying Patterns of Evolutionary Change," Working Papers 00-12-070, Santa Fe Institute.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Autocatalytic reaction networks; parabolic growth; extinction threshold; metadynamics;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:01-09-052. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.