Attend ALife XV!

By Anya Vostinar on January 12, 2016 in News / 1 Comment
Attend ALife XV!

The ALife XV conference is taking place July 4-8 in Cancun, Mexico this year, and is shaping up to look like it’s going to be an exciting program. For those of you interested in presenting, papers or abstract submissions are due in just over a month.  We’re including the full Call for Papers below. A number of members of the Devolab are planning to go, so let us know if you will be there and would like to meet up! Call for Papers: The 2016 ALife Organizing Committee would like to cordially invite you to submit your work to “The Fifteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems”, taking place at the Cancun International Convention Center in Cancun, Mexico, on July 4-8, 2016.

Happy Holidays!

By Anya Vostinar on December 22, 2015 in Humor / 0 Comments
Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays to those celebrating this week! We don’t actually have snow around here strangely, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. If you missed it last year, Emily did a wonderful recreation of A Christmas Carol, academic style! An Academic Christmas Carol: Part 1

Mutation Bias as an Evolutionary Driver

By Matthew Rupp on December 15, 2015 in Research / 0 Comments
Mutation Bias as an Evolutionary Driver

If mutation is the ultimate source of genetic novelty, can a bias of mutation inflow alter the evolutionary trajectory of a population? On the surface, it would appear the answer should be yes. Intuitively, the path through genotype space should be influenced by the manner in which mutations are introduced into the population. For an easy to digest analogy, consider a rephrased thought experiment proposed by Stoltzfus and Yampolsky called “Climbing Mount Probable” [Stoltzfus, A., & Yampolsky, L. Y. (2009). Climbing mount probable: Mutation as a cause of nonrandomness in evolution. Journal of Heredity, 100(5), 637–647]. Beginning with the 80 year old fitness-landscape as a mountain analogy, we can envision a population of haploid organisms clustered about the face of a mountain with the organisms’ elevation representing their absolute fitnesses. Genetic novelty introduced through mutation during […]

Avida-ED for classroom research

By Mike Wiser on December 8, 2015 in Education, Research / 1 Comment
Avida-ED for classroom research

Laboratory components are often integral parts of both K-12 and college science courses. I certainly had a lot over the course of my science education; 5 courses with labs in high school, 8 in college. But for the overwhelming majority of them, I was essentially following a recipe and doing by rote things which had already been done and where the answers were already known. It was only in science-fair-style projects that I typically had any control over the questions I was asking, or how I would go about trying to answer them. But science education doesn’t have to be like that. Inquiry-based science practice is a growing part of the recommendations for science education1 2.  Thankfully, computational tools are making these practices more accessible. NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By […]

Overview of Early Avida Work

By Joshua Nahum on November 24, 2015 in Information, Review / 1 Comment
Overview of Early Avida Work

Back in 2005, I was tasked to pick an article written by a science journalist and write a summary of it for my AP Biology class. During those days, I would frequent the library to read science magazines like Scientific American and Popular Science. Little did I know, the article I found would profoundly shape my career to this day. I chose the cover article for the February 2005 edition of Discover titled: “Testing Darwin” by Carl Zimmer. The article described the work done at Michigan State University to study evolution in a completely different system than DNA-based life. Carl Zimmer, who continues to be my favorite science journalist, described experiments studying the rise of complex features, evolution that generated diverse ecologies, altruism, the benefits of sexual recombination, among other ideas, but all using the digital evolution platform, […]