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Melbinger, Anna; Cremer, Jonas and Frey, Erwin (October 2010): Evolutionary Game Theory in Growing Populations. In: Physical Review Letters, Vol. 105, No. 17: pp. 178101-1 [PDF, 255kB]


Existing theoretical models of evolution focus on the relative fitness advantages of different mutants in a population while the dynamic behavior of the population size is mostly left unconsidered. We present here a generic stochastic model which combines the growth dynamics of the population and its internal evolution. Our model thereby accounts for the fact that both evolutionary and growth dynamics are based on individual reproduction events and hence are highly coupled and stochastic in nature. We exemplify our approach by studying the dilemma of cooperation in growing populations and show that genuinely stochastic events can ease the dilemma by leading to a transient but robust increase in cooperation.

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