Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, 64:1033

Optimal mutation rates in dynamic environments

  • Martin Nilsson
  • Nigel Snoad

DOI: 10.1006/bulm.2002.0314

Cite this article as:
Nilsson, M. & Snoad, N. Bull. Math. Biol. (2002) 64: 1033. doi:10.1006/bulm.2002.0314


In this paper, we study the evolution of the mutation rate for simple organisms in dynamic environments. A model based on explicit population dynamics at the gene sequence level, with multiple fitness coding loci tracking a moving fitness peak in a random fitness background, is developed and an analytical expression for the optimal mutation rate is derived. The optimal mutation rate per genome is approximately independent of genome length, something that has been observed in nature. Furthermore, the optimal mutation rate is a function of the absolute, not relative, replication rate of the superior gene sequences. Simulations confirm the theoretical predictions.

Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Nilsson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nigel Snoad
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Santa Fe InstituteSanta FeUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Theoretical PhysicsChalmers University of Technology and Göteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden
  3. 3.The Australian National UniversityAustralia

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