from The Century Dictionary.
- noun Same as
- noun A plane curve of the sixth order and fourth class having the line at infinity as a double tangent, which possesses the property that two pairs of tangents to it may be so taken that, whatever fifth tangent be considered, the two circles inscribed or escribed in the two triangles formed each with one of the pairs of fixed tangents and the variable tangent have their points of contact with the latter at a constant distance.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun A
curvewhose points have the same orthogonaldistance from a given straight line.
- noun chemistry A system of
self- replicatingmolecules, as an explanation for the self organization of prebioticsystems.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
In this case cooperation comes in the form of what is called a hypercycle, a cycle of mutually dependent RNA molecules, each one undergoing chemical reactions to reproduce itself and, at the same time, help the next molecule in the cycle to reproduce.
This is a kinetic model, one that gives the broad brush picture of how the parts of the hypercycle work together.
In the RNA world, all these jobs were done by RNA, but one can extend the hypercycle idea to cover a rainbow of possibilities—RNA hypercycles, DNA-protein hypercycles, cycles turning within other cycles—but all of them share the same mathematical properties.
The hypercycle may solve the error problem but leaves a bigger issue, one first identified by John Maynard Smith.
He proposed the hypercycle model to bridge this gap in prebiology.
This could, for example, be a participant of the hypercycle that receives catalytic help but does not aid any other unit of the network.
By establishing a hypercycle of individual RNA sequences, each one below the information error threshold, a larger genetic message could be stored, such as one capable of making proteins to check for errors and to repair them too.
It can be shown by a nonlinear game model, incorporating mutation of a hypercycle, that the selection properties of hypercycles make them inefficient information integrators as they cannot compete favourably with all kinds of less efficient information carriers or mutationally coupled hypercycles.
I think that we could do better in understanding and changing complex social behaviors if we could draw more from the following system theories: general system theory, information theory, cybernetics, dissipative structure theory, synergetics, hypercycle theory, catastrophe theory, theory of chaos, and theory of fractal.
If you would like to continue the discussion…tell me if you honestly believe that life started from simple chemicals to polymers to replicating polymers to hypercycle to protobiont to bacteria?