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Nat Rev Genet. 2006 Feb;7(2):109-18.

Digital genetics: unravelling the genetic basis of evolution.

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Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences, 535 Watson Drive, Claremont, California 91711, USA.


Digital genetics, or the genetics of digital organisms, is a new field of research that has become possible as a result of the remarkable power of evolution experiments that use computers. Self-replicating strands of computer code that inhabit specially prepared computers can mutate, evolve and adapt to their environment. Digital organisms make it easy to conduct repeatable, controlled experiments, which have a perfect genetic 'fossil record'. This allows researchers to address fundamental questions about the genetic basis of the evolution of complexity, genome organization, robustness and evolvability, and to test the consequences of mutations, including their interaction and recombination, on the fate of populations and lineages.

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