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An example of the kind of error that can result from a mutation in a template is a mutation of the low order bit of instruction 42 of the ancestor (Appendix C). Instruction 42 is a NOP_0, the third component of the copy procedure template. A mutation in the low order bit would convert it into NOP_1, thus changing the template from 1 1 0 0 to: 1 1 1 0. This would then be recognized as the template used to mark the end of the creature, rather than the copy procedure.

A creature born with a mutation in the low order bit of instruction 42 would calculate its size as 45. It would allocate a daughter cell of size 45 and copy only instructions 0 through 44 into the daughter cell. The daughter cell then, would not include the copy procedure. This daughter genotype, consisting of 45 instructions, is named 0045aaa.

Genotype 0045aaa (Fig. 1) is not able to self-replicate in isolated culture. However, the semi-permeable membrane of memory allocation only protects write privileges. Creatures may match templates with code in the allocated memory of other creatures, and may even execute that code. Therefore, if creature 0045aaa is grown in mixed culture with 0080aaa, when it attempts to call the copy procedure, it will not find the template within its own genome, but if it is within the search limit (generally set at 200-400 instructions) of the copy procedure of a creature of genotype 0080aaa, it will match templates, and send its instruction pointer to the copy code of 0080aaa. Thus a parasitic relationship is established (see ECOLOGY below). Typically, parasites begin to emerge within the first few million instructions of elapsed time in a run.

Thomas S.Ray
Thu Aug 3 15:47:29 JST 1995