Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Theor Biol. 2006 Nov 7;243(1):86-97. Epub 2006 Jun 13.

The replicator equation on graphs.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan.


We study evolutionary games on graphs. Each player is represented by a vertex of the graph. The edges denote who meets whom. A player can use any one of n strategies. Players obtain a payoff from interaction with all their immediate neighbors. We consider three different update rules, called 'birth-death', 'death-birth' and 'imitation'. A fourth update rule, 'pairwise comparison', is shown to be equivalent to birth-death updating in our model. We use pair approximation to describe the evolutionary game dynamics on regular graphs of degree k. In the limit of weak selection, we can derive a differential equation which describes how the average frequency of each strategy on the graph changes over time. Remarkably, this equation is a replicator equation with a transformed payoff matrix. Therefore, moving a game from a well-mixed population (the complete graph) onto a regular graph simply results in a transformation of the payoff matrix. The new payoff matrix is the sum of the original payoff matrix plus another matrix, which describes the local competition of strategies. We discuss the application of our theory to four particular examples, the Prisoner's Dilemma, the Snow-Drift game, a coordination game and the Rock-Scissors-Paper game.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center