Hi. One for the biologists, if they can help me out.
Suppose we have a set of selection pressures on a lineage, each of which would favor a novel mutation, and which do not interfere with one another: i.e. if selection pressure A favors mutation A, and selection pressure B favors mutation B, then the two selection pressures acting simultaneously will favor mutations A and B; and such that for all A and B the selective advantage of mutation A, when selection pressure A is operating, is the same whether or not selection pressure B is operating. We might call such pressures "orthogonal".
Suppose we do two experiments:
(1) We apply these selection pressures one at a time, and wait for each mutation to arise and be fixed before introducing a new pressure. So we apply selection pressure A, wait for mutation A to arise and be fixed in the gene pool, then apply pressures A and B, wait for mutation B to arise and be fixed in the gene pool, then apply pressures A, B and C ... and so forth until all the mutations have arisen and are fixed.
(2) Apply all the pressures simultaneously and wait until all the mutations have arisen and are fixed.
Suppose further that we can do this in such a way that the population is constant and the same in both experiments.
Which should go quicker?
I say that the second experiment should finish more quickly: this follows from probability theory and is borne out by computer simulations.
What I do not know is whether anyone has ever tried this out in real life. If anyone can help, I should be most grateful.
It really helps moderators figure out if a topic is disintegrating because of general misbehavior versus someone in particular if the originally non-misbehaving members kept it that way. When everyone is prickly and argumentative and off-topic and personal then it's just too difficult to tell. We have neither infinite time to untie the Gordian knot, nor the wisdom of Solomon.
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Please make it easy to tell you apart from the idiots. Source