TY - JOUR
T1 - The application of statistical physics to evolutionary biology
JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
JO - Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
SP - 9541
LP - 9546
DO - 10.1073/pnas.0501865102
VL - 102
IS - 27
AU - Sella, Guy
AU - Hirsh, Aaron E.
Y1 - 2005/07/05
UR - http://www.pnas.org/content/102/27/9541.abstract
N2 - A number of fundamental mathematical models of the evolutionary process exhibit dynamics that can be difficult to understand analytically. Here we show that a precise mathematical analogy can be drawn between certain evolutionary and thermodynamic systems, allowing application of the powerful machinery of statistical physics to analysis of a family of evolutionary models. Analytical results that follow directly from this approach include the steady-state distribution of fixed genotypes and the load in finite populations. The analogy with statistical physics also reveals that, contrary to a basic tenet of the nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution, the frequencies of adaptive and deleterious substitutions at steady state are equal. Finally, just as the free energy function quantitatively characterizes the balance between energy and entropy, a free fitness function provides an analytical expression for the balance between natural selection and stochastic drift.
ER -