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- noun Plural form of
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Eigen had argued that cooperation might be possible if hypercycles were packaged in cells.
If we assume that cells with the most successfully replicating—and thus cooperating—hypercycles divide most rapidly, then these cells would thrive relative to those that had hypercycles that are being challenged with cheats.
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.
Maynard Smith made another great contribution when he warned that hypercycles, altruistic networks of molecular replicators, might have a major problem.
The presence of cheats that can exploit the hyper-cycle and divert its resources reminds us that though hypercycles solve the error problem, we now have to solve a deeper problem: How do these complex, interdependent communities evolve?
By evoking a higher level of selection, acting between cells, hypercycles can shrug off parasites.
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.