Evolutionary dynamics of invasion and escape

Yoh Iwasa, Franziska Michor, Martin A. Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Whenever life wants to invade a new habitat or escape from a lethal selection pressure, some mutations may be necessary to yield sustainable replication. We imagine situations like (i) a parasite infecting a new host, (ii) a species trying to invade a new ecological niche, (iii) cancer cells escaping from chemotherapy, (iv) viruses or microbes evading anti-microbial therapy, and also (v) the repeated attempts of combinatorial chemistry in the very beginning of life to produce self-replicating molecules. All such seemingly unrelated situations have a common structure in terms of Darwinian dynamics: a replicator with a basic reproductive ratio less than one attempts to find some mutations that allow indefinite survival. We develop a general theory, based on multitype branching processes, to describe the evolutionary dynamics of invasion and escape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 21 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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