Population Genetics with Fluctuating Population Sizes

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Chotibut, Thiparat ; Nelson, David R. (2016)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1007/s10955-017-1741-y
  • Subject: Quantitative Biology - Populations and Evolution | Condensed Matter - Statistical Mechanics | Physics - Biological Physics
    arxiv: Quantitative Biology::Populations and Evolution

Standard neutral population genetics theory with a strictly fixed population size has important limitations. An alternative model that allows independently fluctuating population sizes and reproduces the standard neutral evolution is reviewed. We then study a situation such that the competing species are neutral at the equilibrium population size but population size fluctuations nevertheless favor fixation of one species over the other. In this case, a separation of timescales emerges naturally and allows adiabatic elimination of a fast population size variable to deduce the fluctuations-induced selection dynamics near the equilibrium population size. The results highlight the incompleteness of the standard population genetics with a strictly fixed population size.
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