Evolutionary dynamics of invasion and escape

J Theor Biol. 2004 Jan 21;226(2):205-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2003.08.014.


Whenever life wants to invade a new habitat or escape from a lethal selection pressure, some mutations may be necessary to yield sustainable replication. We imagine situations like (i) a parasite infecting a new host, (ii) a species trying to invade a new ecological niche, (iii) cancer cells escaping from chemotherapy, (iv) viruses or microbes evading anti-microbial therapy, and also (v) the repeated attempts of combinatorial chemistry in the very beginning of life to produce self-replicating molecules. All such seemingly unrelated situations have a common structure in terms of Darwinian dynamics: a replicator with a basic reproductive ratio less than one attempts to find some mutations that allow indefinite survival. We develop a general theory, based on multitype branching processes, to describe the evolutionary dynamics of invasion and escape.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mutation*
  • Origin of Life
  • Tumor Escape