Are artificial mutation biases unnatural?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

12 Citations (Scopus)


Whilst the rate at which mutations occur in artificial evolutionary systems has received considerable attention, there has been little analysis of the mutation operators themselves. Here attention is drawn to the possibility that inherent biases within such operators might artefactually affect the direction of evolutionary change. Biases associated with several mutation operators are detailed and attempts to alleviate them are discussed. Natural evolution is then shown to be subject to analogous mutation ``biases''. These tendencies are explicable in terms of (i) selection pressure for low mutation rates, and (ii) selection pressure to avoid parenting non-viable offspring. It is concluded that attempts to eradicate mutation biases from artificial evolutionary systems may lead to evolutionary dynamics that are more unnatural, rather than less. Only through increased awareness of the character of mutation biases, and analyses of our models' sensitivity to them, can we guard against artefactual results.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationAdvances in Artificial Life: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL'99)
EditorsD. Floreano, J.-D. Nicoud, F. Mondada
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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