Since synaptic plasticity is regarded as a potential mechanism for memory formation and learning, there is growing interest in the study of its underlying mechanisms. Recently several evolutionary models of cellular development have been presented, but none have been shown to be able to evolve a range of biological synaptic plasticity regimes. In this paper we present a biologically plausible evolutionary cellular development model and test its ability to evolve different biological synaptic plasticity regimes. The core of the model is a genomic and proteomic regulation network which controls cells and their neurites in a 2D environment. The model has previously been shown to successfully evolve behaving organisms, enable gene related phenomena, and produce biological neural mechanisms such as temporal representations. Several experiments are described in which the model evolves different synaptic plasticity regimes using a direct fitness function. Other experiments examine the ability of the model to evolve simple plasticity regimes in a task -based fitness function environment. These results suggest that such evolutionary cellular development models have the potential to be used as a research tool for investigating the evolutionary aspects of synaptic plasticity and at the same time can serve as the basis for novel artificial computational systems.
Yerushalmi, U., & Teicher, M. (2008). Evolving synaptic plasticity with an evolutionary cellular development model. PLoS ONE, 3(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0003697