Increasing growth rate slows adaptation when genotypes compete for diffusing resources

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The rate at which a species responds to natural selection is a central predictor of the species' ability to adapt to environmental change. It is well-known that spatially-structured environments slow the rate of adaptation due to increased intra-genotype competition. Here, we show that this effect magnifies over time as a species becomes better adapted and grows faster. Using a reaction-diffusion model, we demonstrate that growth rates are inextricably coupled with effective spatial scales, such that higher growth rates cause more localized competition. This has two effects: selection requires more generations for beneficial mutations to fix, and spatially-caused genetic drift increases. Together, these effects diminish the value of additional growth rate mutations in structured environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1007585
JournalPLoS computational biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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