David Wolpert and Ricard Solé
The evolution of life in our biosphere has been marked by several major innovations. Such major complexity shifts range from the origin of cells, multicellularity, programmed cell death, learning and memory systems up to the emergence of language or even consciousness. Understanding the nature and conditions for their rise and success is a major challenge for evolutionary biology. Over the last decade, novel theoretical approaches, the rise of synthetic biology, evolutionary robotics and advanced hardware development have shown that we might be able to re-create some of these transitions. Some of these recreations in novel types of evolution might be close to the original, natural ones. However it seems clear too that some rules concerning natural evolution may be broken in these other types of evolution (as happens with aging and death) and that novel “transitions” might have been found in them. Such possibilities open a fascinating field of exploration that might require a new synthesis, which should be constructed using a multidisciplinary perspective.