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Science. 2005 Sep 23;309(5743):2075-8. Epub 2005 Aug 25.

Phenotypic diversity, population growth, and information in fluctuating environments.

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  • 1Laboratory of Living Matter and Center for Studies in Physics and Biology, Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, Box 34, New York, NY 10021-6399, USA. kussele@rockefeller.edu

Abstract

Organisms in fluctuating environments must constantly adapt their behavior to survive. In clonal populations, this may be achieved through sensing followed by response or through the generation of diversity by stochastic phenotype switching. Here we show that stochastic switching can be favored over sensing when the environment changes infrequently. The optimal switching rates then mimic the statistics of environmental changes. We derive a relation between the long-term growth rate of the organism and the information available about its fluctuating environment.

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PMID:
16123265
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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