Questions relating to biological theory or theoretical developments that deals with biological processes.

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13
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4answers
2k views

Book recommendation on population/evolutionary genetics?

I have recently been involved in collaborations that require me to model the population genetics of eukaryotic populations. I fear I may either be "re-inventing the wheel" or making conceptual ...
3
votes
1answer
380 views

How does temperature influence the rate of protein degradation?

For computer modeling purposes, I am looking for some referenced quantitative measurements of the effect(s) of temperature on biochemical reactions. Question In particular, my question is: How does ...
5
votes
1answer
415 views

What physics knowledge can be applied to biology of organisms and ecosystems?

In the wiki page of Biophysics: Biophysics spans all scales of biological organization, from the molecular scale to whole organisms and ecosystems. But after searching on the internet; the ...
3
votes
2answers
246 views

Short-term Lamarckism in asexual single cell organisms

I was reading through the Karr et al. (2012) whole-cell computational model. One of the things they did was to induce single-gene disruptions in their model. They observed several to be fatal, but: ...
7
votes
2answers
268 views

How does Natural Selection shape Genetic Variation?

Background Importance of the additive genetic variance As stated here, the fundamental theorem of Natural Selection (NS) by Fisher says: The rate of increase in the mean fitness of any organism ...
4
votes
2answers
271 views

Book recommendations for algorithms used in evolutionary biology

Do you have recommendations for a book that presents the different algorithm used in theoretical evolutionary biology? I don't mean evolutionary or genetic algorithms (otherwise this question would ...
6
votes
1answer
160 views

Effects of selection on effective population size

Background The effective population size ($N_e$) is a central concept of evolutionary biology and is influenced by several parameters. For example: sex ratio bias affects $N_e$ $\left(N_e = ...
6
votes
1answer
122 views

Macromolecule levels in daughter cells after fission

When a prokaryote undergoes binary fission, how are the non-DNA macromolecules distributed between the two daughter cells? This is motivated by comments on a previous question and a G+ discussion. I ...
4
votes
3answers
156 views

Book recommendations for evolutionary models

I was recently working on getting a statistical model of a DNA sequence. To do this I found that understanding evolution quantitatively seems to be quite important. I would really appreciate any book ...
3
votes
1answer
170 views

Empirical evidence for Group Selection?

A controversial concept in Biology "Group Selection", has caused confusion and conflict amongst scientists since the since the mid 1990s. The more general realm of study is termed the "unit of ...
2
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1answer
169 views

Does recombination increase the additive genetic variance for fitness?

On this article, first column, eighth line of the introduction: By bringing together favourable alleles from different chromosomes, sex and recombination increase the additive genetic variance for ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How to interpret the breeders equation?

The univariate breeders equation is defined as, $\ R = h^2 s$ where $\ R $ is the response, $\ h^2 $ is the heritability (additive genetic variation), $\ s $ is the selection differential. The ...
52
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there any evidence that sexual selection may lead to extinction of species?

Darwin suggested that sexual selection, especially by female choice, may counter natural selection. Theoretical models, such as a Fisherian runaway process, suggest that evolution of preference and ...
19
votes
1answer
593 views

Natural examples of XOR functions at the cellular level

We can often think of cells as a sort of circuit on macromolecules, and can show that they can accurately and robustly implement functions like $\text{MAJ}(x_1,...,x_n)$ (return $1$ if more than half ...
7
votes
2answers
120 views

Intuitive explanation for Kin- and Group- selection

It is known from theoretician in the field of kin selection that kin selection (inclusive fitness theory) and group selection are actually two sides of the same coin. In other words, these two ...
9
votes
1answer
534 views

When does weak selection produce qualitatively different results from strong selection?

In evolutionary game theory, it is typical to model organisms as having a base fitness that is modified slightly by the game interaction. The ratio of the game effect versus the base fitness ...
8
votes
2answers
468 views

What does fitness really mean?

Fitness is certainly the most important concept in the theory of evolution. My question does not have to do with practical measures of fitness but with the theoretical definition of it. I am a bit ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Smallest unit on which selection can act

Traditionally, the individual was considered to be the smallest unit on which Natural Selection (NS) acts. Today, we usually consider the gene as being the unit of NS. Of course, we should also ...
6
votes
2answers
112 views

How are Genetic Circuits Modelled?

I've read a recent Nature Methods paper by Moon T.S. et al, in which a synthetic genetic circuit consisting of layered logic gates was created. For example, the paper, a circuit is modelled in Figure ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What are we missing about the real workings of the evolutionary process? [closed]

As a scientist (and a computer scientist at that) my view is that if we cannot simulate a process we have not understood it properly. I have been following the interesting field of Artificial Life for ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is 'Grudger' an evolutionary stable strategy?

I am currently reading 'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins, which I am sure many here have read. The topic are evolutionary stable strategies (ESS) regarding cooperation. I apologise for the long ...
12
votes
3answers
324 views

When are population dynamics models useful?

When are population dynamics models useful? There seems to have been a lot of research about it, but how does it help? If I need data about how a population will evolve under what conditions, I need ...
8
votes
1answer
222 views

Genetic Drift: Models, assumptions and empirical observations

There two main mathematical models to describe the process of genetic drift are Moran model and Wright-Fisher model. My questions concern the assumptions of these models, the existence of other ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

How to calculate the effective population size ($N_e$) with overlapping generations?

From this Source: If generations are overlapping, then the effective population size $N_e$ does not equal the population size $N$. I know mathematical formulations in order to find the effective ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

Why does the number of mutations per individuals follow a Poisson distribution?

I was reading this review. On page 11, left column, first paragraph, one can read: [..] there is a Poisson distribution of the equilibrium number of mutations per individual, if fitness effects ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Effective population size when the population sizes varies from season to season

Let's think of a species which has four generations per year and which population size changes from season to season so that the population size is 100 in summer, 200 in spring, 50 in autumn and 20 in ...
1
vote
2answers
188 views

How quantitative is the theory of evolution right now? [closed]

We developed complex structures like eyes and brain, whose mechanisms rely on specific species of molecules and relevant chemical reactions. But we did not develop an enhanced night vision, the ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Additive genetic variance with $n$ loci

The genetic variance of a quantitative trait (the quantitative trait in question is fitness) can be express as the sum of two components, the dominance and additive variance: $$\sigma_D^2 + ...
1
vote
1answer
112 views

Additive genetic variance with $n$ alleles

The genetic variance of a quantitative trait (the quantitative trait in question is fitness) can be express as the sum of two components, the dominance and additive variance: $$\sigma_D^2 + ...
13
votes
1answer
816 views

Can an organism exist as a single cell but come together as multi-cellular during certain times?

I am trying to remember a particular segment from a BBC special, in which there was single cellular species. However, at certain times all the individual cells came together to form a structure, not ...
8
votes
1answer
159 views

Model for fluctuating selection

Is there any mathematical model to predict the behaviour and long-term consequence of counter-acting selection at different time scale? For example, let's consider the bi-allelic gene A, with alleles ...
7
votes
1answer
85 views

Hamilton's derivation of direct fitness from his 1970 paper

In his 1970 paper "Selfish and Spiteful Behaviour in an Evolutionary Model", Hamilton uses Price's equation to derive his well-known rule $rb -c >0$. My question is about one of the steps in his ...
7
votes
2answers
185 views

The Assumption of Weak Selection?

I was reading this question and I failed to fully understand the introductory part of it. The OP (@Artem Kaznatcheev) says: Most analytic models like to assume weak selection because it allows ...
6
votes
1answer
354 views

Computational/mathematical models for predicting phenotype from genotype

Karr, Sanghvi, et al. (2012) propose a whole-cell computational model for predicting phenotype from genotype in Mycoplasma genitalium. Their model simulates myriad cell processes such as DNA ...
5
votes
0answers
54 views

Variance in Fst in the infinite island model

The most famous result in the study of structured populations come from Sewall Wright. He showed that in an island model, where each subpopulation is of size $N$ and the migration rate is $m$, then ...
4
votes
3answers
614 views

Fisher's Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection

Ronald Fisher discovered what he, with humility, called the Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection. This theorem says (in its modern terminology): The rate of increase in the mean fitness of any ...
4
votes
2answers
231 views

Why and how does complexity usually tends to increase through time?

The question of complexity is classic in the very first lectures of evolutionary biology where the teacher usually tries to tell the students that complexity does not necessary increases and that ...
4
votes
1answer
179 views

Randomness in living systems

The point of my question is not to talk about events that are uncontrolled by living organisms. My question is about controlled randomness, or I'd like to say adaptive random process. Process that are ...
3
votes
1answer
55 views

Altruism in viscous (asexual) populations

The viscosity of a population is the tendency of offspring to remain near their place of birth. Taylor 1992 ("Altruism in viscous populations") provides a model to study how viscosity affects the ...
2
votes
2answers
187 views

Value of mathematical models in biology [closed]

Sorry if this is too much of a soft question or if it is too broad for this site. As a person who has much more experience with math than biology, I've always been really interested in the ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

Modeling intracellular interactions between sender and receiver bacteria

I am involved in a modelling task of a biological process described as follows: -- "Objective: to model behavior of a sender receiver type system The process goes as follows Pre-signal [PS] is in ...
6
votes
1answer
170 views

Alternatives to fittest-win and Moran processes as simple mathematical models of selection

When modeling selective sweeps as a micro-building block in models of macroevolution (not to be confused with misuses of this in creationist arguments), I use the fittest-win model of selection as a ...
3
votes
1answer
99 views

Do the claims in this paper have any degree of validity?

The paper The waiting time problem in a model hominin population talks about a problem of waiting time, etc. Is the methodology of this numerical simulation, and the conclusion right or is it wrong? ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

Evolution from Mating types to different sexes

Imagine a lineage of multicellular organisms that had mating types and evolved their mating types into sexes. What are the possible mechanisms that might have brought this lineage to evolve sexes from ...
2
votes
2answers
692 views

What would it take to recognize a deer by its photo?

I am trying to recognize a deer by its antlers or any other means. Elaborating: I was hoping to use their antlers to recognize them but I have heard that most deers shed their antlers every year so ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Modelling how much cadmium a cell will be able to chelate with phytochelatins

I am involved in a synthetic biology project where I have to do modelling with ODEs. The biological process I want to model is the chelation of Cd2+ with phytochelatins, to know how much can be ...