Selection strategies for randomly partitioned genetic replicators

Anton Zadorin 1 Yannick Rondelez 2
1 LPN - CNRS
LPN - Laboratoire de photonique et de nanostructures
Abstract : The amplification cycle of many replicators (natural or artificial) involves the usage of a host compartment, inside of which the replicator expresses phenotypic compounds necessary to carry out its genetic replication. For example, viruses infect cells, where they express their own proteins and replicate. In this process, the host cell boundary limits the diffusion of the viral protein products, thereby ensuring that phenotypic compounds, such as proteins, promote the replication of the genes that encoded them. This role of maintaining spatial colocalization, also called genotype-phenotype linkage, is a critical function of compartments in natural selection. In most cases, however, individual replicating elements do not distribute systematically among the hosts, but are randomly partitioned. Depending on the replicator-to-host ratio, more than one variant may thus occupy some compartments, blurring the genotype-phenotype linkage and affecting the effectiveness of natural selection. We derive selection equations for a variety of such random multiple occupancy situations, in particular considering the effect of replicator population polymorphism and internal replication dynamics. We conclude that the deleterious effect of random multiple occupancy on selection is relatively benign, and may even completely vanish is some specific cases. In addition, given that higher mean occupancy allows larger populations to be channeled through the selection process, and thus provide a better exploration of phenotypic diversity, we show that it may represent a valid strategy in both natural and technological cases.
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Anton Zadorin, Yannick Rondelez. Selection strategies for randomly partitioned genetic replicators. Physical Review E , American Physical Society (APS), 2019, 99 (6), ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.99.062416⟩. ⟨hal-02352626⟩

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