Environmental Escape from the Prisoner's Dilemma

Speaker: Jaye Sudweeks

Date: Wed, Jul 28, 2021

Location: Zoom, Online

Conference: Mathematical Biology Seminar

Subject: Mathematics, Mathematical Biology

Class: Scientific


During reproduction, viruses manufacture products that diffuse within the host cell. Because a virus does not have exclusive access to its own gene products, coinfection of multiple viruses allows for strategies of cooperation and defection— cooperators produce large amounts of gene product while defectors produce less product but specialize in appropriating a larger share of the common pool. Experimental data shows that, under conditions where coinfection is common, bacteriophage $\Phi$6 becomes trapped in a Prisoner’s dilemma, with defectors spreading to fixation, causing lowered population fitness. However, these experiments did not allow for fluctuation in the density of the external viral population. Here, I’ll discuss a model formulated to see if environmental feedback can free $\Phi$6 from the Prisoner’s dilemma. I’ll also discuss the concept of the Effective Game, which incorporates the frequency and density of different viral types in the environment.