Among organisms with determinate growth, optimization models predict that reproductive effort should increase as individuals approach old age, but the assumptions of these models may be inappropriate because the senescence that generates the necessary selective pressure may be not itself be optimal. Population genetics models were constructed to examine whether genes for age-specific changes in reproductive effort could invade a population in which senescence was maintained at equilibrium levels by a balance between mutation and selection. In asexually reproducing organisms, it was found that strategies of increasing reproductive effort could not normally invade the population. In sexually reproducing organisms, however, recombination was found to be important and genes for age-specific changes in effort could spread in the population under most circumstances.
- Evolutionary model
- Life history evolution
- Reproductive effort
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics