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Evolutionary Bioinformatics

The Stochastic Evolutionary Game for a Population of Biological Networks Under Natural Selection

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Evolutionary Bioinformatics 2014:10 17-38

Original Research

Published on 16 Feb 2014

DOI: 10.4137/EBO.S13227


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Abstract

In this study, a population of evolutionary biological networks is described by a stochastic dynamic system with intrinsic random parameter fluctuations due to genetic variations and external disturbances caused by environmental changes in the evolutionary process. Since information on environmental changes is unavailable and their occurrence is unpredictable, they can be considered as a game player with the potential to destroy phenotypic stability. The biological network needs to develop an evolutionary strategy to improve phenotypic stability as much as possible, so it can be considered as another game player in the evolutionary process, ie, a stochastic Nash game of minimizing the maximum network evolution level caused by the worst environmental disturbances. Based on the nonlinear stochastic evolutionary game strategy, we find that some genetic variations can be used in natural selection to construct negative feedback loops, efficiently improving network robustness. This provides larger genetic robustness as a buffer against neutral genetic variations, as well as larger environmental robustness to resist environmental disturbances and maintain a network phenotypic traits in the evolutionary process. In this situation, the robust phenotypic traits of stochastic biological networks can be more frequently selected by natural selection in evolution. However, if the harbored neutral genetic variations are accumulated to a sufficiently large degree, and environmental disturbances are strong enough that the network robustness can no longer confer enough genetic robustness and environmental robustness, then the phenotype robustness might break down. In this case, a network phenotypic trait may be pushed from one equilibrium point to another, changing the phenotypic trait and starting a new phase of network evolution through the hidden neutral genetic variations harbored in network robustness by adaptive evolution. Further, the proposed evolutionary game is extended to an n-tuple evolutionary game of stochastic biological networks with m players (competitive populations) and k environmental dynamics.



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