Complex limiting behaviour of multilocus genetic systems in cyclical environments

V. M. Kirzhner, A. B. Korol, E. Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here we demonstrate that complex limiting behaviour (supercycles and chaotic-like phenomena) may arise in a rather broad and natural class of multilocus systems, both haploid and diploid, experiencing stabilizing selection with cyclically varying optima over a short period. These include loci with purely additive, dominant, or semidominant effects, with different types of their chromosome distribution. The observed complex dynamics appeared to manifest a certain stability with respect to disturbances of parameters specifying the structure of the selected system and environmental characteristics. This mode of multilocus dynamics by far exceeds the potential attainable under ordinary selection models resulting in simple behaviour. It may represent a novel evolutionary mechanism increasing genetic diversity over long time periods. This novel mechanism could contribute to the observation that biological diversity has increased over geological time regardless of the well-known massive extinctions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-225
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 7 Feb 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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