Limits on amplifiers of natural selection under death-Birth updating

Josef Tkadlec, Andreas Pavlogiannis, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Martin A Nowak

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The fixation probability of a single mutant invading a population of residents is among the most widely-studied quantities in evolutionary dynamics. Amplifiers of natural selection are population structures that increase the fixation probability of advantageous mutants, compared to well-mixed populations. Extensive studies have shown that many amplifiers exist for the Birth-death Moran process, some of them substantially increasing the fixation probability or even guaranteeing fixation in the limit of large population size. On the other hand, no amplifiers are known for the death-Birth Moran process, and computer-assisted exhaustive searches have failed to discover amplification. In this work we resolve this disparity, by showing that any amplification under death-Birth updating is necessarily bounded and transient. Our boundedness result states that even if a population structure does amplify selection, the resulting fixation probability is close to that of the well-mixed population. Our transience result states that for any population structure there exists a threshold r⋆ such that the population structure ceases to amplify selection if the mutant fitness advantage r is larger than r⋆. Finally, we also extend the above results to δ-death-Birth updating, which is a combination of Birth-death and death-Birth updating. On the positive side, we identify population structures that maintain amplification for a wide range of values r and δ. These results demonstrate that amplification of natural selection depends on the specific mechanisms of the evolutionary process.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1007494
JournalPLOS Computational Biology
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes




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