The fastest evolutionary trajectory

Arne Traulsen, Yoh Iwasa, Martin A. Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Given two mutants, A and B, separated by n mutational steps, what is the evolutionary trajectory which allows a homogeneous population of A to reach B in the shortest time? We show that the optimum evolutionary trajectory (fitness landscape) has the property that the relative fitness increase between any two consecutive steps is constant. Hence, the optimum fitness landscape between A and B is given by an exponential function. Our result is precise for small mutation rates and excluding back mutations. We discuss deviations for large mutation rates and including back mutations. For very large mutation rates, the optimum fitness landscape is flat and has a single peak at type B.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-623
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 7 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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