Strategic analysis in evolutionary genetics and the theory of games

J Genet. 2005 Apr;84(1):7-12. doi: 10.1007/BF02715884.


This paper is written in memory of John Maynard Smith. In a brief survey it discusses essential aspects of how game theory in biology relates to its counterpart in economics, the major transition in game theory initiated by Maynard Smith, the discrepancies between genetic and phenotypic models in evolutionary biology, and a balanced way of reconciling these models. In addition, the paper discusses modern problems in understanding games at the genetic level using the examples of conflict between endosymbionts and their hosts, and the molecular interactions between parasites and the mammalian immune system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Game Theory*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable
  • Selection, Genetic