Prokaryotes - the minimum self-replicating cell
Self-replicating cells (like prokaryotes) can be naturally selected from inert replicating molecules if mass specific metabolism increases super-linearly with mass
With an efficient metabolism being dependent upon a metabolic compartment, the selection of metabolism is driving the selection of the cell and all its mass. This mass is trimmed [ w → wβ ] by the quality-quantity trade-off that selects for the β-dependent minimum mass (wβ) that is required for a functional self-replicator with a given mass specific metabolism (β). And with mass being selected as the β-dependent minimum, there is active selection for self-replicators with no more than the single cell.
This evolution of the smallest self-replicating cells is driven entirely by the mass dependence of mass specific metabolism and the counteracting selection of the quality-quantity trade-off. Although the selection of the β-dependent minimum mass is selecting for maximal population growth, a resource bias from interactive competition has not yet evolved [ ψι** = 0 ], and nor has the associated population dynamic feed-back selection (Fig. 1, right).
With a resource bias of zero [ ψι** = 0 ] it follows that the cost of resource sharing, the two-fold cost of the male, and the two-fold cost of meiosis are selecting for asexual reproduction with reproducing units that contain a single self-replicator only (Witting, 1997, 2002).
The natural selection of metabolism and mass selects lifeforms from viruses to multicellular animals
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