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Before making use of evolutionary theories

已有 4101 次阅读 2012-10-11 11:21 |个人分类:thoughts|系统分类:科研笔记| Theory, evolution, apply

When making preparation for an interview, I asked a few questions to myself. I couldn't answer them very well, but just tried to give some comments.

1. The first question is what 'evolutionary theories' really mean. I could only answer this question based on what I have learned. Certainly my favorite is evolutionary game theory, where ESS (or say replicator dynamics) forms the only central rationale. However, traditionally ESS is only dealing with symmetrical players with the same set of candidate strategies. When looking into interacting players at different levels, we need to extend the models of ESS to deal with asymmetric players with different sets of candidate strategies. Now we at at the gate of systems biology, where not only multiple categories of game players are included but also the outcomes will be more diverse -- a single-point steady (perhaps stable) state may not always be reached, but instead the whole system may show periodical, strange, noisy or just complex states. These may all be claimed to be part of theories in evolutionary biology, and become useful in tackling practical questions.

  Some other theories in ecology and evolution may also help, but I don't think they have enough power to make predictions.

2. A tricky question prompted into my mind is, at which time scales am I talking about the outcomes of conflict and/or competition at different structural scales? It's not a complicated question, but hard to be clarified in words. I haven't come out with a good answer yet but I would say the very difficulty is just the reason why we need the method of agent-based modelling, where running of simulation and its results will tell us what happens.

3. The third question is where the "strategies" are embodied. At this moment I could only say ATP production, resource allocation, and/or the balance between fermentation and OXPHOS. But in future within a specific topic we may find other metabolic and/or signaling pathways where different strategies may make sense. Essentially, as a strategy, it should be inheritable/replicable to some extent and be carried by a well defined individual agent/player, and there must be a set of alternative strategies potentially shared by a group of players.



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