At a time of unprecedented expansion in the life sciences, evolution is the one theory that transcends all of biology. Any observation of a living system must ultimately be interpreted in the context of its evolution. Evolutionary change is the consequence of mutation and natural selection, which are two concepts that can be described by mathematical equations. Evolutionary Dynamics is concerned with these equations of life. In this book, Martin A. Nowak draws on the languages of biology and mathematics to outline the mathematical principles according to which life evolves. His work introduces readers to the powerful yet simple laws that govern the evolution of living systems, no matter how complicated they might seem.
Evolution has become a mathematical theory, Nowak suggests, and any idea of an evolutionary process or mechanism should be studied in the context of the mathematical equations of evolutionary dynamics. His book presents a range of analytical tools that can be used to this end: fitness landscapes, mutation matrices, genomic sequence space, random drift, quasispecies, replicators, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, games in finite and infinite populations, evolutionary graph theory, games on grids, evolutionary kaleidoscopes, fractals, and spatial chaos. Nowak then shows how evolutionary dynamics applies to critical real-world problems, including the progression of viral diseases such as AIDS, the virulence of infectious agents, the unpredictable mutations that lead to cancer, the evolution of altruism, and even the evolution of human language. His book makes a clear and compelling case for understanding every living systemand everything that arises as a consequence of living systemsin terms of evolutionary dynamics.
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About the Author
Martin A. Nowak is Director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics and Professor of Mathematics and Biology at Harvard University.
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. What Evolution Is
- 3. Fitness Landscapes and Sequence Spaces
- 4. Evolutionary Games
- 5. Prisoners of the Dilemma
- 6. Finite Populations
- 7. Games in Finite Populations
- 8. Evolutionary Graph Theory
- 9. Spatial Games
- 10. HIV Infection
- 11. The Evolution of Virulence
- 12. The Evolutionary Dynamics of Cancer
- 13. Language Evolution
- 14. Conclusion
- Further Reading
What People are Saying About This
This is a brilliant book by the master of his field. Simple, clear and profound on topics of major importance, cooperation, cancer, language and HIV itself. You can only benefit by learning what Martin Nowak knows.
Robert Trivers, co-author of Genes in Conflict, Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University
Martin Nowak has injected rigor and new ideas into the study of the evolution of language and cooperation. This book is brimming with insights and surprising findings and should be of interest to anyone who is curious about these topics.
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language, and How the Mind Works
I read this book with huge enjoyment. It is wonderfully well presented, and offers a wide range of new insights into interesting and important and emerging topics in mathematical biology. The book will have a wide and enthusiastic readership.
Robert M. May, Professor of Zoology, Oxford University