Introduction to Stochastic Models for Evolution

S. Meleard

2009, v.15, №3, 259-264


Evolution describes the changes of the genetic (and then phenotypic) structure of a population from a generation to the next one. Darwin's work has been the starting point of that field. Darwin claimed that Evolution was the result of the natural selection through competitions between living organisms and interactions with their environment. The novelty of this claim was to point out two main ideas. Firstly, the evolutionary descent occurs with modifications. Secondly, the direction of the evolution is given by the natural selection. These ideas, which were revolutionary at Darwin's epoch, are now considered as the basis of the Biology. Biologists and then mathematicians try to understand the mechanisms of the evolution, that is how mutations of species and selection of new characteristics can happen. These mechanisms have two faces, either one pointed towards the phenotypes of organisms, the other one facing their genes, which happen at different scales. The aim of the IRS Workshop "Stochastic Models for Evolution" is to show how probabilistic models can help to understand these genetic or phenotypic mechanisms.


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