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Presence of Old Individuals in a Population Accelerates and Optimizes the Process of Selection: in silico Experiments

V. A. Chistyakov*, Y. V. Denisenko, and A. B. Bren

Southern Federal University, Ivanovsky Academy of Biology and Biotechnology, Institute of Biology, 344090 Rostov-on-Don, Russia; E-mail: vladimirchi@sfedu.ru

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received August 24, 2017; Revision received October 4, 2017
One of the important components of the concept of aging-phenoptosis (programmed aging) is the notion of aging as an accelerator of evolution having the rank of subconcept. For many reasons, the main being the problematic experimental testing of evolutionary hypotheses, verification of the above-mentioned subconcept can be based primarily on analysis of the internal inconsistency of heuristic models and their correspondence to undisputedly observed facts. To illustrate the acceleration mechanism, and most importantly to structure the evolutionary process in communities that include naturally weakened individuals, V. P. Skulachev offered in 2003 a conceptual model that he later called a “fable about hares”. Despite its simplicity, this model has undoubted internal logic. The natural trend in the development of conceptual models is their translation into the language of mathematics. The purpose of the present work was to create a variation of the known multi-agent model “predator–prey” that would allow us to “see” how the presence in the prey population of naturally weakened (old) members stimulates the selection of individuals with traits whose adaptive potential is not devaluated with age. The model (http://homebear.ru/PD) was developed on the Java platform, version 6, NetBeans development environment 8.2. Statistical analysis and preparation of illustrative materials were carried out using environment R, version 3.4.1. The results of numerical experiments set using our model correspond in principle to the provisions of the heuristic model of Skulachev and, consequently, confirm the absence in it of logical contradictions.
KEY WORDS: aging, phenoptosis, multi-agent modeling, evolution, fable about hares

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297918020086