Calculating evolutionary dynamics in structured populations

Charles G. Nathanson, Corina E. Tarnita, Martin A. Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Evolution is shaping the world around us. At the core of every evolutionary process is a population of reproducing individuals. The outcome of an evolutionary process depends on population structure. Here we provide a general formula for calculating evolutionary dynamics in a wide class of structured populations. This class includes the recently introduced "games in phenotype space" and "evolutionary set theory." There can be local interactions for determining the relative fitness of individuals, but we require global updating, which means all individuals compete uniformly for reproduction. We study the competition of two strategies in the context of an evolutionary game and determine which strategy is favored in the limit of weak selection. We derive an intuitive formula for the structure coefficient, s, and provide a method for efficient numerical calculation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1000615
JournalPLoS computational biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Ecology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Modeling and Simulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Calculating evolutionary dynamics in structured populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this