Effect of selection on ancestry: an exactly soluble case and its phenomenological generalization

Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2007 Oct;76(4 Pt 1):041104. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.76.041104. Epub 2007 Oct 3.


We consider a family of models describing the evolution under selection of a population whose dynamics can be related to the propagation of noisy traveling waves. For one particular model that we shall call the exponential model, the properties of the traveling wave front can be calculated exactly, as well as the statistics of the genealogy of the population. One striking result is that, for this particular model, the genealogical trees have the same statistics as the trees of replicas in the Parisi mean-field theory of spin glasses. We also find that in the exponential model, the coalescence times along these trees grow like the logarithm of the population size. A phenomenological picture of the propagation of wave fronts that we introduced in a previous work, as well as our numerical data, suggest that these statistics remain valid for a larger class of models, while the coalescence times grow like the cube of the logarithm of the population size.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biological Evolution
  • Biophysics / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Statistical
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Population Density
  • Population Dynamics
  • Selection, Genetic