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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 May;1256:49-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06422.x. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

The use of information theory in evolutionary biology.

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1
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA. adami@msu.edu

Abstract

Information is a key concept in evolutionary biology. Information stored in a biological organism's genome is used to generate the organism and to maintain and control it. Information is also that which evolves. When a population adapts to a local environment, information about this environment is fixed in a representative genome. However, when an environment changes, information can be lost. At the same time, information is processed by animal brains to survive in complex environments, and the capacity for information processing also evolves. Here, I review applications of information theory to the evolution of proteins and to the evolution of information processing in simulated agents that adapt to perform a complex task.

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