@article{5944,
abstract = {Understanding the thermodynamics of the duplication process is a fundamental step towards a comprehensive physical theory of biological systems. However, the immense complexity of real cells obscures the fundamental tensions between energy gradients and entropic contributions that underlie duplication. The study of synthetic, feasible systems reproducing part of the key ingredients of living entities but overcoming major sources of biological complexity is of great relevance to deepen the comprehension of the fundamental thermodynamic processes underlying life and its prevalence. In this paper an abstract—yet realistic—synthetic system made of small synthetic protocell aggregates is studied in detail. A fundamental relation between free energy and entropic gradients is derived for a general, non-equilibrium scenario, setting the thermodynamic conditions for the occurrence and prevalence of duplication phenomena. This relation sets explicitly how the energy gradients invested in creating and maintaining structural—and eventually, functional—elements of the system must always compensate the entropic gradients, whose contributions come from changes in the translational, configurational, and macrostate entropies, as well as from dissipation due to irreversible transitions. Work/energy relations are also derived, defining lower bounds on the energy required for the duplication event to take place. A specific example including real ternary emulsions is provided in order to grasp the orders of magnitude involved in the problem. It is found that the minimal work invested over the system to trigger a duplication event is around ~ 10−13J , which results, in the case of duplication of all the vesicles contained in a liter of emulsion, in an amount of energy around ~ 1kJ . Without aiming to describe a truly biological process of duplication, this theoretical contribution seeks to explicitly define and identify the key actors that participate in it.},
author = {Corominas-Murtra, Bernat},
issn = {20751729},
journal = {Life},
number = {1},
publisher = {MDPI},
title = {{Thermodynamics of duplication thresholds in synthetic protocell systems}},
doi = {10.3390/life9010009},
volume = {9},
year = {2019},
}
@article{5860,
abstract = {A major problem for evolutionary theory is understanding the so-called open-ended nature of evolutionary change, from its definition to its origins. Open-ended evolution (OEE) refers to the unbounded increase in complexity that seems to characterize evolution on multiple scales. This property seems to be a characteristic feature of biological and technological evolution and is strongly tied to the generative potential associated with combinatorics, which allows the system to grow and expand their available state spaces. Interestingly, many complex systems presumably displaying OEE, from language to proteins, share a common statistical property: the presence of Zipf's Law. Given an inventory of basic items (such as words or protein domains) required to build more complex structures (sentences or proteins) Zipf's Law tells us that most of these elements are rare whereas a few of them are extremely common. Using algorithmic information theory, in this paper we provide a fundamental definition for open-endedness, which can be understood as postulates. Its statistical counterpart, based on standard Shannon information theory, has the structure of a variational problem which is shown to lead to Zipf's Law as the expected consequence of an evolutionary process displaying OEE. We further explore the problem of information conservation through an OEE process and we conclude that statistical information (standard Shannon information) is not conserved, resulting in the paradoxical situation in which the increase of information content has the effect of erasing itself. We prove that this paradox is solved if we consider non-statistical forms of information. This last result implies that standard information theory may not be a suitable theoretical framework to explore the persistence and increase of the information content in OEE systems.},
author = {Corominas-Murtra, Bernat and Seoane, Luís F. and Solé, Ricard},
issn = {17425689},
journal = {Journal of the Royal Society Interface},
number = {149},
publisher = {Royal Society Publishing},
title = {{Zipf's Law, unbounded complexity and open-ended evolution}},
doi = {10.1098/rsif.2018.0395},
volume = {15},
year = {2018},
}
@article{5859,
abstract = {The emergence of syntax during childhood is a remarkable example of how complex correlations unfold in nonlinear ways through development. In particular, rapid transitions seem to occur as children reach the age of two, which seems to separate a two-word, tree-like network of syntactic relations among words from the scale-free graphs associated with the adult, complex grammar. Here, we explore the evolution of syntax networks through language acquisition using the chromatic number, which captures the transition and provides a natural link to standard theories on syntactic structures. The data analysis is compared to a null model of network growth dynamics which is shown to display non-trivial and sensible differences. At a more general level, we observe that the chromatic classes define independent regions of the graph, and thus, can be interpreted as the footprints of incompatibility relations, somewhat as opposed to modularity considerations.},
author = {Corominas-Murtra, Bernat and Fibla, Martí Sànchez and Valverde, Sergi and Solé, Ricard},
issn = {20545703},
journal = {Royal Society Open Science},
number = {12},
publisher = {Royal Society Publishing},
title = {{Chromatic transitions in the emergence of syntax networks}},
doi = {10.1098/rsos.181286},
volume = {5},
year = {2018},
}