Continuing the discussion from Evolution of the Genetic Code:
An interesting conversation on evolving evolvability arose in one thread.
On another thread, @art points out that RNA expression evolution only requires small amounts of “information.”
Which brings me to this really interesting paper on the evolution of evolvability.
An individual-oriented evolutionary model is used to shed light on this matter. Each individual has a genome from which its gene regulatory network is derived. Mutations, such as gene duplications and deletions, alter the genome, while the resulting network determines the gene expression pattern and hence fitness. With this protocol we let a population of individuals evolve under Darwinian selection in an environment that changes through time.
Our work demonstrates that long-term evolution of complex gene regulatory networks in a changing environment can lead to a striking increase in the efficiency of generating beneficial mutations.