Selective Breeding Analysed as a Communication Channel
In: SYNASC 2008, 26-29 Sep 2008, Timisoara, Romania.
Selective breeding is considered as a communication
channel, in a novel way. The Shannon informational capacity of
this channel is an upper limit on the amount of information that
can be put into the genome by selection: this is a meaningful
upper limit to the adaptive complexity of evolved organisms.
We calculate the maximum adaptive complexity achievable for
a given mutation rate for simple models of sexual and asexual
reproduction. A new and surprising result is that, with sexual
reproduction, the greatest adaptive complexity can be achieved
with very long genomes, so long that genetic drift ensures that
individual genetic elements are only weakly determined. Put
another way, with sexual reproduction, the greatest adaptive
complexity can in principle be obtained with genetic architectures
that are, in a sense, error correcting codes. For asexual reproduction,
for a given mutation rate, the achievable adaptive complexity
is much less than for sexual reproduction, and depends only
weakly on genome length.
A possible implication of this result for genetic algorithms is
that the greatest adaptive complexity is in principle achievable
when genomes are so long that mutation prevents the population
coming close to convergence.