Evolution from Proto-Life to Metabolic Networks

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

CSSS Santa Fe 2007

Moved away from the projects, due to too wide a scope.


(Just sign up yourself, if interested, or, whom I've just forgotten)

  • Kathryn Cooper
  • Amelie Veron
  • Wenyun Zuo
  • Christian Darabos
  • Tim Johann
  • Vikas Shah
  • Joshua L. Payne


Given the concept of the Metabolism First Hypothesis, how did early simple and essentially random reaction networks evolve into ones that exhibit characteristics of scale-free and small-world (sf-sw) networks? What physically meaningful rules may we find that can lead to this?



Things to consider

  • No predefined goal! Besides evolvability. I.e. we don't use a fitness function based on a known goal state.
  • How to define fitness? Or, how to define selection without a known fitness function?
    • Yes, I though it might be interesting to run simulations without fitness and selection, just based on the rules of evolution and see what comes out -- Amelie
      • What to do about the explosion of possibilities? [Tim]
  • How can we get increasing structural complexity of metabolites?
  • Does structural complexity of metaboltes really imply a tendency to sf-sw?

Space for Opinions

It seemed at our first meeting, that everybody involved (but me) assumed I wanted to take the role of the leader. Actually, I wanted to have an open discussion about what WE want to achieve. -- Tim

As the group of interested people is so large and the number of opinions as well, we could split into two groups with different approaches or goals. With a meeting once or twice a week.


  • nearly anything by Stuart Kauffman (I just borrowed 'The Origins of Order').
  • Gunter Wachtershauser has painted a detailed picture of the chemical possibilities based on geothermal vents. He has a bunch of publications that pop up on Google scholar. Steen would definitely say he has painted himself into a corner, but he has some really interesting hypotheses.