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Altruistic aging: The evolutionary dynamics balancing longevity and evolvability

. School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Arizona State University, Glendale, AZ 85306-4908, USA

Altruism is typically associated with traits or behaviors that benefit the population as a whole, but are costly to the individual. We propose that, when the environment is rapidly changing, senescence (age-related deterioration) can be altruistic. According to numerical simulations of an agent-based model, while long-lived individuals can outcompete their short lived peers, populations composed of long-lived individuals are more likely to go extinct during periods of rapid environmental change. Moreover, as in many situations where other cooperative behavior arises, senescence can be stabilized in a structured population.

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Keywords Senescence; cooperation; agent-based modeling; evolution; structured populations

Citation: Minette Herrera, Aaron Miller, Joel Nishimura. Altruistic aging: The evolutionary dynamics balancing longevity and evolvability. Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, 2017, 14(2): 455-465. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2017028

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