Making the most of potential: Potential games and genotypic convergence

Omer Edhan, Ziv Hellman, Ilan Nehama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider genotypic convergence of populations and show that under fixed fitness asexual and haploid sexual populations attain monomorphic convergence (even under genetic linkage between loci) to basins of attraction with locally exponential convergence rates; the same convergence obtains in single locus diploid sexual reproduction but to polymorphic populations. Furthermore, we show that there is a unified theory underlying these convergences: all of them can be interpreted as instantiations of players in a potential game implementing a multiplicative weights updating algorithm to converge to equilibrium, making use of the Baum-Eagon Theorem. To analyse varying environments, we introduce the concept of 'virtual convergence', under which, even if fixation is not attained, the population nevertheless achieves the fitness growth rate it would have had under convergence to an optimal genotype. Virtual convergence is attained by asexual, haploid sexual and multi-locus diploid reproducing populations, even if environments vary arbitrarily. We also study conditions for true monomorphic convergence in asexually reproducing populations in varying environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number210309
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors.


  • Evolutionary dynamics
  • Population genetics
  • Potential games
  • Sexual reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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