Voter model and biased voter model in heterogeneous environments

N. Lanchier, C. Neuhauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


With the rapid adoption of transgenic crops, gene flow from transgenic crops to wild relatives through pollen dispersal is of significant concern and warrants both empirical and theoretical studies to assess the risk of introduction of transgenes into wild populations. We propose to use the (biased) voter model in a heterogeneous environment to investigate the effects of recurrent gene flow from transgenic crop to wild relatives. The model is defined on the d-dimensional integer lattice that is divided into two parts, Δ and ℤ d \ Δ. Individuals carrying the transgene and individuals carrying the wild type gene compete according to the evolution rules of a (biased) voter model on ℤ d \ Δ, while the process is conditioned to have only individuals carrying the transgene on Δ. Our main findings suggest that unless transgenes confer increased fitness in wild relatives, introgression of transgenes into populations of wild plants is slow and may even be reversible without intervention. Our study also addresses the effects of different spatial planting patterns of transgenic crops on the rate of introgression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-787
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Probability
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Interacting particle systems
  • Random walk
  • Transgenic crops
  • Voter model interfaces


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