GENETIC REPRESENTATION AND GENETIC NEUTRALITY IN GENE EXPRESSION PROGRAMMING
The neutral theory of molecular evolution states that the accumulation of neutral mutations in the genome is fundamental for evolution to occur. The genetic representation of gene expression programming, an artificial genotype/phenotype system, not only allows the existence of non-coding regions in the genome where neutral mutations can accumulate but also allows the controlled manipulation of both the number and the extent of these non-coding regions. Therefore, gene expression programming is an ideal artificial system where the neutral theory of evolution can be tested in order to gain some insights into the workings of artificial evolutionary systems. The results presented in this work show beyond any doubt that the existence of neutral regions in the genome is fundamental for evolution to occur efficiently.
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