On Chemical Reaction Network Design by a Nested Evolution Algorithm

Abstract : One goal of synthetic biology is to implement useful functions with biochemical reactions, either by reprogramming living cells or programming artificial vesicles. In this perspective, we consider Chemical Reaction Networks (CRN) as a programming language, and investigate the CRN program synthesis problem. Recent work has shown that CRN interpreted by differential equations are Turing-complete and can be seen as analog computers where the molecular concentrations play the role of information carriers. Any real function that is computable by a Turing machine in arbitrary precision can thus be computed by a CRN over a finite set of molecular species. The proof of this result gives a numerical method to generate a finite CRN for implementing a real function presented as the solution of a Polynomial Initial Values Problem (PIVP). In this paper, we study an alternative method based on artificial evolution to build a CRN that approximates a real function given on finite sets of input values. We present a nested search algorithm that evolves the structure of the CRN and optimizes the kinetic parameters at each generation. We evaluate this algorithm on the Heaviside and Cosine functions both as functions of time and functions of input molecular species. We then compare the CRN obtained by artificial evolution both to the CRN generated by the numerical method from a PIVP definition of the function, and to the natural CRN found in the BioModels repository for switches and oscillators.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 4, 2019 - 4:08:48 PM
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Elisabeth Degrand, Mathieu Hemery, François Fages. On Chemical Reaction Network Design by a Nested Evolution Algorithm. Computational Methods in Systems Biology, Sep 2019, Trieste, Italy. ⟨hal-02173682⟩

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