Modelling biological evolution: phenotype switching in a static landscape
Evolution is the process by which populations of reproducing individuals are driven by the competing influences of mutation and selection to become more suited to their environment.
In stochastic phenotype switching (SPS) cells switch stochastically between different phenotypic states, each of which has a different fitness in the current environment. Populations exhibiting SPS will therefore have subpopulations that are maladapted to the environment. This is understood to be an evolved bet hedging strategy for populations that are subjected to frequent and unpredictable environmental changes. However, whether or not SPS could evolve to speed up evolution over a static landscape is yet to be fully explored.
I will begin by presenting a brief introduction to SPS and of modelling biological evolution. I will then go on to present some results examining the affect of including SPS in a model of a population crossing a fitness valley.
This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..