Sufficient conditions for emergent synchronization in protocell models

Timoteo Carletti, Roberto Serra, Irene Poli, Marco Villani, Alessandro Filisetti

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    In this paper we study general protocell models aiming to understand the synchronization phenomenon of genetic material and container productions, a necessary condition to ensure sustainable growth in protocells and eventually leading to Darwinian evolution when applied to a population of protocells. Synchronization has been proved to be an emergent property in many relevant protocell models in the class of the so-called Surface Reaction Models (R. Serra, T. Carletti, I.Poli, Artificial Life 13, (2007), pp. 123), assuming both linear and nonlinear dynamics for the involved chemical reactions. We here extend this analysis by introducing and studying a new class of models where the relevant chemical reactions are assumed to occur inside the protocell, in contrast with the former model where the reaction site was the external surface. While in our previous studies the replicators were assumed to compete for resources, without any direct interaction among them, we here improve the model by allowing linear interaction between replicators: catalysis and/or inhibition. Extending some techniques previously introduced, we are able to give a quite general analytical answer about the synchronization phenomenon in this more general context. We also report on the results of numerical simulations to support the theory, where applicable, and allow to investigate cases which are not amenable to analytical calculations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)741-751
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • synchronization
    • self-replication
    • dynamical model
    • Protocell


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