From genes to games: Cooperation and cyclic dominance in meiotic drive

Traulsen, AR, F. A.,  Journal of Theoretical Biology,  299:120-125. 2012.

Evolutionary change can be described on a genotypic level or a phenotypic level. Evolutionary game theory is typically thought of as a phenotypic approach, although it is frequently argued that it can also be used to describe population genetic evolution. Interpreting the interaction between alleles in a diploid genome as a two player game leads to interesting alternative perspectives on genetic evolution. Here we focus on the case of meiotic drive and illustrate how meiotic drive can be directly and precisely interpreted as a social dilemma, such as the prisoners dilemma or the snowdrift game, in which the drive allele takes more than its fair share. Resistance to meiotic drive can lead to the well understood cyclic dominance found in the rock-paper-scissors game. This perspective is well established for the replicator dynamics, but there is still considerable ground for mutual inspiration between the two fields. For example, evolutionary game theorists can benefit from considering the stochastic evolutionary dynamics arising from finite population size. Population geneticists can benefit from game theoretic tools and perspectives on genetic evolution. (c) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.