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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2007 Sep;76(3 Pt 1):031922. Epub 2007 Sep 26.

Evolutionary dynamics of the most populated genotype on rugged fitness landscapes.

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  • 1Department of Physics of Complex Systems, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


We consider an asexual population evolving on rugged fitness landscapes which are defined on the multidimensional genotypic space and have many local optima. We track the most populated genotype as it changes when the population jumps from a fitness peak to a better one during the process of adaptation. This is done using the dynamics of the shell model which is a simplified version of the quasispecies model for infinite populations and standard Wright-Fisher dynamics for large finite populations. We show that the population fraction of a genotype obtained within the quasispecies model and the shell model match for fit genotypes and at short times, but the dynamics of the two models are identical for questions related to the most populated genotype. We calculate exactly several properties of the jumps in infinite populations, some of which were obtained numerically in previous works. We also present our preliminary simulation results for finite populations. In particular, we measure the jump distribution in time and find that it decays as t(-2) as in the quasispecies problem.

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