Incorporating New Ideas from Genetics

Haploid crossover and mutation are only the barest bones of real-world genetic systems. I have discussed some extensions, including diploidy, inversion, gene doubling, and deletion. Other GA researchers have looked at genetics-inspired mechanisms such as dominance, translocation, sexual differentiation (Goldberg 1989a, chapter 5), and introns (Levenick 1991). These all are likely to have important roles in nature, and mechanisms inspired by them could potentially be put to excellent use in problem solving with GAs. As yet, the exploration of such mechanisms has only barely scratched the surface of their potential. Perhaps even more potentially significant is genetic regulation. In recent years a huge amount has been learned in the genetics community about how genes regulate one another—how they turn one another on and off in complicated ways so that only the appropriate genes get expressed in a given situation. It is these regulatory networks that make the genome a complex but extremely adaptive system. Capturing this kind of genetic adaptivity will be increasingly important as GAs are used in more complicated, changing environments.

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