Price's equation made clear
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Price's equation provides a very simple—and very general—encapsulation of evolutionary change. It forms the mathematical foundations of several topics in evolutionary biology, and has also been applied outwith evolutionary biology to a wide range of other scientific disciplines. However, the equation's combination of simplicity and generality has led to a number of misapprehensions as to what it is saying and how it is supposed to be used. Here, I give a simple account of what Price's equation is, how it is derived, what it is saying and why this is useful. In particular, I suggest that Price's equation is useful not primarily as a predictor of evolutionary change but because it provides a general theory of selection. As an illustration, I discuss some of the insights Price's equation has brought to the study of social evolution. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Fifty years of the Price equation’.
Gardner , A 2020 , ' Price's equation made clear ' , Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences , vol. 375 , no. 1797 , 20190361 . https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0361
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences
Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
DescriptionFunding: UK Natural Environment Research Council Independent Research Fellowship (NE/K009524/1); European Research Council Consolidator Grant (771387).
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