Building Block Hypothesis

Updated December 07, 2019

The building block hypothesis (Goldberg):

Genetic algorithms select for compact genes that encode impactful traits, because a short gene is less likely to be disrupted by mutation and crossover than is a long gene, which has more exposed surface area to disrupt.

These short-but-valuable genes become "building blocks" for evolution, allowing for composition at the level of traits — a composable alphabet.

Goldberg proposes the Building Block Hypothesis for Genetic Algorithms in particular. Are there other places where it may apply? Stories, ideas, aphorisms?