Regional specification, or pattern formation, is the process by which developing cells in different regions are switched into different developmental pathways. We investigate this process through an ALife model of multicellular development using fractal proteins, where genes are expressed into proteins comprised of subsets of the Mandelbrot Set. The resulting network of gene and protein interactions can be designed by evolution to produce specific patterns, that in turn can be used to solve problems. Here fractal gene regulatory networks are incorporated into a multicellular model of development, and tested on the morphological problem of regional specification, using Map-Elites to explore the space of solutions. The results indicate the ability of this system to learn regularities in solutions and automatically create and use developmental modules, illustrating how an artificial system can replicate some of the fundamental processes of development.

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