Mathematics of Evolution: mutations, selection, and random environments

Mathematical Biology Seminar
Friday, March 26, 2021 - 3:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Natalia L. Komarova – University of California, Irvine – komarova@uci.edu
Afaf Saaidi

Evolutionary dynamics permeates life and life-like systems. Mathematical methods can be used to study evolutionary processes, such as selection, mutation, and drift, and to make sense of many phenomena in life sciences. I will present two very general types of evolutionary patterns, loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutations, and discuss scenarios of population dynamics  -- including stochastic tunneling and calculating the rate of evolution. I will also talk about evolution in random environments.  The presence of temporal or spatial randomness significantly affects the competition dynamics in populations and gives rise to some counterintuitive observations. Applications include origins of cancer, passenger and driver mutations, and how aspirin might help prevent cancer.

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