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J Theor Biol. 2005 Aug 7;235(3):393-401.

Stochastic evolutionary dynamics on two levels.

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Institut für Theoretische Physik und Astrophysik, Christian-Albrechts Universität, Olshausenstr. 40, D-24098 Kiel, Germany.


We consider a population that is subdivided into groups. Individuals reproduce proportional to their fitness. When a group reaches a certain size it has a probability to split into two groups while another group is eliminated. In this stochastic process, the number of groups is constant, while the total population size fluctuates between well-defined bounds. We calculate the fixation probability of newly introduced mutants under constant selection. We show that the described population structure acts as a suppressor of selection compared to an unstructured population of the same size. The maximum suppression of selection is obtained, when the number of groups equals the number of individuals per group. We also study opposing selection on two or more levels by analysing the evolutionary dynamics of hierarchically embedded Moran processes.

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