Two-time-scale population evolution on a singular landscape.

Xu S, Jiao S, Jiang P, Ao P. 2014. Physical Review E


Under the effect of strong genetic drift, it is highly probable to observe gene fixation or gene loss in a population, shown by singular peaks on a potential landscape. The genetic drift-induced noise gives rise to two-time-scale diffusion dynamics on the bipeaked landscape. We find that the logarithmically divergent (singular) peaks do not necessarily imply infinite escape times or biological fixations by iterating the Wright-Fisher model and approximating the average escape time. Our analytical results under weak mutation and weak selection extend Kramers’s escape time formula to models with B (Beta) function-like equilibrium distributions and overcome constraints in previous methods. The constructed landscape provides a coherent description for the bistable system, supports the quantitative analysis of bipeaked dynamics, and generates mathematical insights for understanding the boundary behaviors of the diffusion model.