Return to Publications

The Moran model as a dynamical process on networks and its implications for neutral speciation

In genetics the Moran model describes the neutral evolution of a bi-allelic gene in a population of haploid individuals subjected to mutations. We show in this paper that this model can be mapped into an influence dynamical process on networks subjected to external influences. The panmictic case considered by Moran corresponds to fully connected networks and can be completely solved in terms of hypergeometric functions. Other types of networks correspond to structured populations, for which approximate solutions are also available. This new approach to the classic Moran model leads to a relation between regular networks based on spatial grids and the mechanism of isolation by distance. We discuss the consequences of this connection to topopatric speciation and the theory of neutral speciation and biodiversity. We show that the effect of mutations in structured populations, where individuals can mate only with neighbors, is greatly enhanced with respect to the panmictic case. If mating is further constrained by genetic proximity between individuals, there are opposing forces acting on genetic diversity: the enhanced effect of mutations increases diversity, while mating preference decreases diversity. The resolution of these opposing forces is through speciation via pattern formation. The population breaks up into multiple species each of which satisfies the mating preference, while diversity across the population of species increases.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.