Evolution and Genetic Algorithms

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Evolution and Genetic Algorithms

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Before we describe how a GA can be applied to solve this problem, let us draw the evolutionary parallel.  The theory is that a population of a certain species will, after many generations, adapt to live better in its environment.  For example, if the species is an animal that lives mainly in a swampy area, it may eventually evolve with webbed feet.  The reason is that the members of this population, which we will call individuals, will tend to die if they are poor swimmers which cannot easily get food, and live to reproduce if they are good swimmers.  The offspring of two good swimmers will probably be good swimmers as well because they will usually carry genetic traits of their parents, such as slight webbing between the toes.  These genetic traits are carried in chromosomes in the individuals.


Plant or animal breeders often use selective breeding techniques wherein they choose parents for breeding based upon the intensity of desirable traits with which the prospective parents are endowed.  These breeders are using the same evolutionary techniques.