Complexity in the Lineage Leading from Prokaryotes to Mammals

Authors: Valery A. Anisimov; Korotayev, Andrey
Almanac: History & Mathematics:Big History Aspects


The lack of a strict relationship between genome size and organismal complexity (level of organization) is largely due to size variability of the facultative part of the genome. However, there is a direct relationship between the level of organization and the minimal genome size (MGS) in the lineage leading from prokaryotes to mammals, in which the tendency towards increasing complexity is especially clear. The dynamics of MGS in this lineage can be adequately described by the model of hyperexponential growth. This implies the existence of nonlinear positive feedbacks that account for the acceleration of MGS growth. The nature of these feedbacks is discussed, including the formation of new genes by means of recombination of the fragments of existing genes, formation of ‘niches’ for new genes in the course of evolution of gene networks, and the expansion of regulatory regions. Hyperexponential growth of different variables related to the level of organization of the biosphere and society (biodiversity, MGS, size and complexity of organisms, world population, technological development, urbanization, etc.) suggests that the evolution of the biosphere and humanity in the direction of increasing complexity is a self-accelerating (autocatalytic) process.

Keywords: genome size, evolution, level of organization, complexity.