School of Mathematics

Joachim Krug

Joachim Krug abstract

Joachim Krug, Physics Department, University of Cologne, Germany

Fitness landscapes and the predictability of evolution

The adaptive dynamics of an asexual population is constrained by epistatic interactions encoded in the underlying fitness landscape. In recent years a number of low-dimensional empirical data sets have become available that offer glimpses into the structure of real fitness landscapes and motivate theoretical work. In the talk I will show how statistical models can be used to quantify the evolutionary accessibility of fitness landscapes and to classify and interpret empirical data. I will argue that mathematical theory is particularly helpful in understanding how evolutionary accessibility depends on the dimension of genotype space, thus partially claryfing a controversy that dates back to Ronald Fisher and Sewall Wright. I then discuss the impact of epistatic constraints on the repeatability of evolutionary trajectories in asexuals, with particular emphasis on the role of population size.