An Examination of the Effects of Age-Structure on Mutation Rate Evolution in a Changing Environment by Computer Simulation
A life-history involves the scheduling of events in an individual’s life, such as growth, reproduction, and survivorship. This thesis seeks to focus on the possibility than an individual could also schedule its rate of mutation, such that different mutation rates may occur as an organism ages. These different mutation rates may be adaptive and evolve by natural selection. In a simulated population with iteroparity, genotypes that encoded age-structured mutation outcompeted genotypes that did not encode age-structured mutation provided that the rate of environmental change was sufficiently high. My finding that age-structured mutation rates can be adaptive may lead to a new understanding of the adaptive role of aging.