Evol Ecol Res 9: 1077-1096 (2007)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

A simulation study of the evolution of ageing

Owen G. Woodberry,* Kevin B. Korb and Ann E. Nicholson

Clayton School of Information Technology, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: owenw@infotech.monash.edu.au


Hypothesis: Although ageing may reduce individual fitness, it could arise because ageing increases organism turnover and enhances genetic diversity within subpopulations.

The model: We have developed an ALife simulation environment of subpopulations of co-evolving hosts and diseases to test hypotheses, finding differing circumstances in which adaptive, and non-adaptive, ageing evolution occurs.

Conclusions: Our simulations demonstrate conditions that are favourable to the adaptive evolution of ageing. The adaptive evolution of ageing requires a reinterpretation of group selection theory, tying it strongly to what we already know about inclusive fitness theory.

Keywords: adaptation, ageing, co-evolution, diversity, group selection, inclusive fitness, kin selection, units of selection.

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